Two key questions for every manager

From an interview with Intuit CEO Scott Cook:

The one [example] that hit home was how Google beat Yahoo. I talked to Yahoo people about it. They said, “We got beat because Google runs itself as a series of experiments run by its engineers. They are constantly trying new things at a ferocious rate. A Google chief scientist says they run 3,000 to 5,000 experiments a year. If you use Google in a week, you’re likely to be in three experiments. You don’t know you are, because they are experiments. Guys at Yahoo were saying, “They just outran us. We tried management, all the stuff that management did, but we didn’t have that experimentation engine.

There’s a pattern here. Both companies [Toyota, mentioned earlier, and Google] make much better decisions because they don’t rely on hierarchy, PowerPoint, persuasion. They’re making decisions based on real experiments.

Based on this, managers should ask themselves two simple questions: (1) How many experiments are my team running at any moment? And (2) How rapid is our pace of experimenting?

2 thoughts on “Two key questions for every manager

  1. I would add
    (3) How radical are the experiments? The more fundamental the change being tested, the greater the possibility of a game-changing win. Also greater possible loss, but if you iterate fast you can accept this.

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