Experiments Welcome Here
A good friend and colleague (Paul Hutchinson) recently introduced me to an informal group of business leaders, practitioners, concerned citizens and activists who meet monthly to discuss areas of interest and to share personal and professional development opportunities: The Concord Mafia. We ran into the group’s facilitator (Kim Novick) at a local restaurant and learned he was looking for a November speaker. I signed up to be the featured speaker in November. The Mafia is a sounding board atmosphere where participants can experiment or propose in safety and receive well informed feedback. Plus, there’s excellent food and coffee! Kim makes all this happen, and everyone is deeply appreciative.
Why a Scorecard?
This year I’m participating in more volunteer activities than I have in the previous 5 years combined. Most of these activities are outside of Lean, Agile and my usual professional work. I wanted to see if I could develop an informal but useful set of metrics to evaluate how valuable each volunteer experience is for myself, for event organizers and for other volunteers, too. I designed a scorecard and prepared to speak to it at the November meeting.
The first activity I engaged in was writing an initial set of directions. (If you’ve been to more than a few volunteer events, you’ve probably had the same experience I’ve had on occasion: Insufficient guidance to make the best use of time, resources and expertise.) Here’s the final set of instructions and the Assessment Key corresponding to the Criteria that appear below:
I adopted a set of commonly used criteria many of us use to assess organizational, program and team culture. I’m increasingly finding these criteria have use outside of Lean and Agile. Here’s the metrics section of the scorecard:
Now that I had the measurement criteria in place and a basic value set (aka Key values) I was ready to assign descriptions to a range of scores. I agonized a bit over this: Everyone’s expectations and experience of a volunteer experience isn’t the same, and I wanted to be charitable to organizers, too. I’ve been on the organizer team for several events, and I know it’s challenging to provide a positive experience for everyone (participants, organizers, vendors, spectators and media too.) Here’s where I came out on overall ratings across a range of values:
Paul and I reviewed the scorecard with a group of approximately 30 professionals (over that excellent food and coffee I mentioned earlier!), and we received positive feedback and some pointers for refinement, too. Overall, I’m glad we decided to preview this form, and I’ve adopted it for several volunteer opportunities I’m planning in 2018.
You can download a copy for your own use, here. Here’s the complete scorecard: