Benchmarking your work

How do you know that you’re good at what you do ? Most answers to this question are relative, and subjective.

This is why benchmarking is so important :

Find a couple of your peers, people that you trust, admire, and ideally with more experience/seniority than you

Identify a specific area of your work that you want to benchmark

Invite them for lunch or coffee

Expose to them your system as you designed and implemented it in that area — the thinking behind it, the pillars of the system, the implementation milestones, and the current status. Be as honest and open as you can

Ask them to find gaps in your system, whether things that you overlooked or flaws in your thinking

Don’ts :

Do not ask them ‘Do you think what I do is ok ?,’ in which case people are incentivized to answer ‘yeah it’s good’. Ask them specifically to identify the flaws they see — take it as a given that there are flaws in your system

Do not turn it into a competition. This is an open learning opportunity, and someone else is being generous with their time. The point is to learn and share, not to create a useless ranking

Doing this regularly is the best way I can think of, to make sure that your work is robust by industry best practices. It is also the best way of learning from others

All you can know by staying entirely within your company, is that things work in an absolute way — but there is always better, there is always room for improvement, and there is always something else to learn from someone else.

Wouldn’t you want to know that your employees also do this in their areas of the company ?

Regular benchmarking is key, and should be done by everyone.