One of the biggest lessons we’ve learnt over the last few months is that people are more focused on the outcome – not the speeds, feeds and process. To that end, even though we’re making decisions with less information… we’re probably doing it with better information.
I have worked in the networking and cyber world for over 30 years and, as an engineer at heart, it always puzzles me why people buy something only to make things go quicker.
Take the world of trading. High-speed networking is essential, but it is just as important that the data entered on one side of the Atlantic reaches the other in a way that is understandable to the systems that need to process it and respond. In other words, goodput – the integrity of the data – is as important as the throughput speed the data travels at.
Eleven weeks ago I started a new role working for Exclusive Networks, responsible for Professional Services and Consulting globally. I arrived in post just as lockdowns began in almost every country.
My new colleagues around the world have been extremely welcoming, but this has all been via phone or, most often, video calls. It got me thinking about my old goodput versus throughput bugbear. Without goodput, the video calls would be impossible. Even voice calls would potentially be a jumble of words in no particular order, and therefore too difficult for my tiny brain to comprehend.
Exclusive is not alone in embracing virtual events to replace face-to-face interaction, and use platforms like Zoom and Teams to transfer knowledge on a one-to-many basis. With mass homeworking making everyone a captive audience, attendances have skyrocketed. I have heard industry friends boast of registering 100+ people for some of their sessions, compared to a pre-Covid benchmark of less than half that. But do those numbers represent ‘Goodput’ in a format like that, or are in fact the numbers just ‘Throughput’?
My point is that quality often beats quantity, and that getting a whopping great number of people piled onto a webinar naturally limits the amount of proper interaction that’s possible. It’s clear to me that working in smaller groups is far more conducive to promoting a deeper understanding and taking customers and partners to the next level, even if it looks less impressive to the casual observer. Goodput should beat Throughput every time…
The arrival of COVID-19 has also made me realise that the pace at which you lead your life is about enjoying the good things; the things that are not material. Although it is sometimes fun to drive a fast new car, a sedate walk with your dogs can be equally enjoyable. A decent bottle of wine has taken on a whole new level of appreciation, well worth spending time over in the back garden (if you’re lucky enough to have one) rather than being chugged down in a City bar. Most experiences are better and more fulfilling when you don’t speed through them at haste.
Similarly, when it comes to delivering successful projects for customers, it’s important to take time to determine the outcome they wish to achieve. So many projects, particularly in the cyber space, are rushed through in response to a threat or breach. If you take time to work back from the event you’ll achieve a more successful outcome; and the feeling of success and the value created during the experience will last far longer than a ‘quick and dirty’ project to simply patch the problem.
Next time you are asked to do something, try and work back from the outcome and determine the best steps, creating a checklist if required, and concentrate on goodput and not throughput. I cannot guarantee spiritual fulfilment but you will enjoy greater success. And I can assure you the experience of all parties will spur you on to complete more projects, more successfully. Goodput is way better than throughput!
Global Head of Professional Services & Consulting