Software engineering notes

4DX

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The book Deep Work, by Cal Newport, introduced me to The Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX):

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important, aka Prioritize
  2. Act on the Lead Measures
  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard, aka Measure progress
  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability, aka Have cadence meetings

I’ve found each of these practices helpful, but hadn’t seen them listed succinctly.

I think the second point (“Act on Lead Measures”) provides interesting context for OKRs, which several teams I’ve been on have used. 4DX describes lead vs lag metrics. For example, we have to wait thirty days to know if we’ve increased thirty-day active users, so there’s a thirty day lag in the metric. As opposed to other metrics, e.g., signups per day, features built, etc., that can be measured on a smaller scale and correlate with increasing thirty-day actives. Objectives seem like lag metrics, and KRs like lead metrics.

Written by Erik

September 17, 2019 at 6:35 am

Posted in org

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. […] the tracker in a periodic (agile, 4DX) cadence meeting and using it to structure discussion. Avoiding tracker maintenance was helpful for […]

  2. […] prioritize, prioritize, prioritize <– reminds me of 4DX […]

  3. […] by the author’s need to optimize productivity. In this context, the book introduced me to 4DX, which is like agile boiled down to four points. As with agile, I find myself referencing it […]


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