Improve your team projects by applying Marginal gains on their components.
Marginal Gains is a philosophy that aims to improve a project by breaking it down into tiny components and then by making small improvements to each of them. The overall aggregate gain will lead to the sought after improvement.
The philosophy of Marginal Gains was conceived by Dave Brailsford
who became the program director of British Cycling in the early 2000s. In 2010 he was given the objective of having a Briton win the Tour de France, quite a task given that no Briton had ever come close to winning this race. After applying his ideas Briton Bradley Wiggins won the tour in 2012 followed by Chris Froome in 2013. Added to these successes the British team profited from this philosophy and have dominated world indoor events including the 2012 Olympics.
The principle of Marginal Gains is to not look a subject as a whole but to break it down into the tiniest components and to improve on each of them. Brailsford’s idea was to improve on these by just 1% and then reap the rewards of the aggregate gain. Some of these components are directly related to the cycling (e.g. materials and training) and others to the social well-being and the team's environment (e.g. diet and comfort while traveling)
The reverse scenario
In his blog James Clear
argues that the converse of marginal gains (marginal decline) can result in an aggregate deterioration.
So many small poor decisions could lead to a problem.
This application provides a template that helps to itemize the components and encourages the user to break down components even further in order to focus on the finest details.
A new TWiki topic is created for each component and an improvement
can be created to each of these components.
The application makes use of several Plugins
including the ActionTrackerPlugin
and the CommentPlugin
. A map of the process is also provided using the TreePlugin
Following the success of Marginal Gains in cycling other areas beyond sport have started to adopt this approach. Hospitals in London and Seattle have reported quality and financial improvements through the use of marginal gains and there are further examples in education , sales and marketing and aviation. Other areas of use could be:
- Improving the quality of an IT service (e.g. improve documentation)
- Student preparation for exams (e.g. ask 1 more question every day)
- Losing weight (e.g. use stairs instead of the elevator)
- House-keeping (e.g. cleaning kitchen work unit every evening)
- Sports teams - improving performance (e.g. providing better transport for away matches)
Example - Improve the performance of a football team
In this example a club's management looks to better the performance of its football team.
First they think of everything that could affect the performance of the team. Once these components have been identified they try and break them down again and again and look for items to improve. For this example I have used an indented list for each child component (a mind-map also works very well for this).
Click the twisty below to see the start of a breakdown of the team into small components. A possible action can be attributed to each component.
- Next from the MarginalGainsProjects topic create a new project. This one is called FootballTeam
- The manager then creates components and actions based on the above information.
- All child pages under FootballTeam will now have the same template. The following screenshot show a page for
Team Poor Skills. Actions have been added for 2 players
You do not need to install anything on the browser to use this add-on. These instructions are for the administrator who installs the add-on on the server where TWiki is running.
- Download the ZIP file from the Add-on Home (see below)
MarginalGainsAddOn.zip in your twiki installation directory. Content:
| Topic that shows all actions
| Header topic
| Template topic for all components
| Home topic
| Form for creating a new component topic
| Form for creating a new project topic
- Copy the above files to the web of your choice
- Test if the installation was successful:
- Go to the MarginalGainsProjects topic and create a new project.
- Create components and then further child components if necessary.
- Create actions for Marginal gains where appropriate.
- Notes for the actions:
Action for : here enter the full path of your TWiki Name e.g Main.PeterJones
Due date : the date format show be YYYY-MM-DDD
Comment : this is free text but should include the subject and purpose for the action.
Related Topic: TWikiAddOns
- Set SHORTDESCRIPTION = Improve your team projects by applying Marginal gains on their components.