What are our goals

We are here to help everyone make sense of data and see New Zealand clearly in a way that inspires us forward. This mission is really hard to measure because it’s difficult to track the myriad ways that benefits flow from more people using data.

We have two proxy measures for success based on the main things we do. We believe if we achieve these proxies, we are more likely to be successful in our core mission. We’ve picked 24 February 2022 for hitting our big goals for each of these, as it’ll be the 10th anniversary from Lillian first having the idea for Figure.NZ (you can read more about the origin story here.

High-Level Measurements

Functions High-level measurements Goals for 24 February 2022
Take New Zealand’s scattered, disparate, non-personal data, and standardise it to publish it in machine readable form in a centralised location How much data have we published? 80% of New Zealand’s public, non-personal, aggregated Government data to be published by Figure.NZ
Make it easy and compelling for people to find and use New Zealand’s data How many people are engaging with the data we have published? Two million people each month engage with the data we’ve published

These goals might not be the perfect yet. We’re going to give them our best shot, but we might alter them down (or up!) as we learn more about how fast we can run. We run a bunch of processes to help us know if we’re on track for the long-term goals which you can read about in more detail further down on this page.


The definition of each high-level measurement will change over time as teams work together to define the best measures. We’ll update these definitions as we create them.

The purpose of these measurements is not to apply pressure or make us feel like we’ve failed. Rather, it’s to give us a foundation to make good decisions, and a goal to strive for.

There are some things that we don’t know our role in yet, like helping people to aggregate data. In time, these may be added to our measurements.

How do we measure success?

There is a lot of autonomy within the Figure.NZ team and we expect everyone to participate in coming up with ideas and helping decide our priorities. Our mission and goals and their related functions and measurements are our north star to keep us moving in the right direction. You can find our latest quarterly objectives and how we are going against them a little further down this page.

We have defined two main functions (what we do) and two supporting functions (how we do it) to achieve our mission, and the main activities they each involve.

What we do

This section explains our functions, goals, measures, and actions. It should be read as a part of our wider mission about why we’re here.

1. Take New Zealand’s scattered, disparate, non-personal data, and standardise it to publish it in machine-readable form in a centralised location.

How we achieve this:

  • Establish overview of the NZ data landscape
  • Build relationships with everyone who has the data
  • Define best-practice standards for processing and publishing data
  • Develop and evolve technology for processing and publishing data
  • Process and publish data

2. Make it easy and compelling for people to find and use New Zealand’s data

How we achieve this:

  • Create and evolve a delightful user experience for people to find and use data
  • Enable easy distribution of content to other channels/platforms
  • Promote the use of data
  • Educate people about how they can use data

How we do it

3. Enable the best team to deliver the main functions on an ongoing basis

How we achieve this:

  • Recruit and retain great people
  • Ensure that they are empowered to help Figure.NZ towards the mission, specifically that they have the environment and tools they need to bring their best
  • Give our people the freedom they want to create and execute on their ideas
  • Check regularly that our people feel they are doing the right things, doing them well, and working well with others
  • Ensure we have an internal planning system and processes that help us stay aligned and motivated with the minimum possible effort

4. Raise enough money to deliver the main functions on an ongoing basis

How we achieve this:

  • Build strong relationships with organisations that are interested in supporting our vision of a country where everyone uses data in their daily lives
  • Establish effective partnerships that increase our internal capability or give us new ways to get the data we collect out to users as well as generating revenue
  • Update the budget monthly with a clear view of the cash position and good visibility over future revenues

Reporting our progress

This structure is intended to be lightweight and not a burden. If it’s not working, we’ll adjust it.

Quarterly reflection and planning session

At the end of each quarter, we have a meeting to look at how we did against the last quarter’s objectives and set objectives for the next one. If we haven’t hit our objectives, we talk about why, and use what we learn to reset for the next quarter. If we have, we high-five. Go team. We update Tohu to show our objectives for the next quarter.

Our quarters line up with Februarys (since goals run to the tenth anniversary in February 2022 of the idea that became Figure.NZ):

Tahi (March to May) Rua (June to August) Toru (September to November) Whā (December to February)

We circulate a Slack post for you to fill in if you want to propose objectives before the call. That way we have the full set of them together before our meeting, and we can talk about whether we think the objectives as a whole are the right things to be focusing on to get us towards our goals.

Monthly kōrero

On or about the last Friday of each month, we have a short kōrero on how the month has gone. This is a chance for us to identify if there’s a problem with any of our objectives, so we can adjust by changing the target or by changing our actions, and generally for us all to get a sense of what other people are up to and how they are going.

It is a relaxed, informal session — think of it like a check-in over a glass of wine and maybe some cheese. Before the call we circulate a Slack post for you to write brief updates against any objectives that you are responsible for. We update this page with that progress update after the kōrero.

Mid-month check-in

In the middle of each month, we share our progress with a thread in Slack. You’ll be reminded by Slackbot to do this for the objectives that have your name against them.

Here is an example:


Quarterly objectives, owners and actions for Raumati | Summer 2017 🌳

Summary table

Num Objective
1 Produce full documentation for the data team
2 Update rate to 70% of Data collections and focus new content on Environment
3 Add 30 additional agencies to our government agency data stocktake
4 Add data content for comms
4b Develop plan for place based content
5 Complete Project Meerkat prototype
6 Development completion of Search and Enumeration phase 1
7 Product development: Digits design round two
8 Product development: Research and scoping phase of Charts 2.0 is underway
9 Adopt modern software deployment practice
10 Create a framework for test coverage of our codebase
11 Develop comms plans for one of our priority audiences
12 Develop a data literacy toolkit
13 Set the parameters of the behaviour change project
14 Decide how we’re going to track and monitor things
15 Kick-off Figurehead communications
16 Document the installation, configuration and use of the common software tools for our organisation
17 Establish risk register and update process
18 Establish Figure’s 20
19 Establish each partner
20 Begin process for booking CP

Function 1: Take New Zealand’s scattered, disparate, non-personal data, and standardise it to publish it in machine-readable form in a centralised location

Objective 1: Produce full documentation for the data team

Create and maintain a comprehensive guide of what we do, and how. This is going to be mostly focused on the Grace work, but will include all overarching principles and other data team activities that do not relate to Grace. Written documentation will benefit new staff and a guide for existing staff to refer to.

Owner: Data team


  • The first version of the data team documentation is released.


  • For way too long, a lot of the accumulated knowledge and practice have been locked inside people’s brains.


Objective 2: Update rate to 70% of Data collections and focus new content on Environment

Lift update rate to 70% of data collections. Add new content focusing on (1) the environment theme and (2) priorities indicated by partner organisations.

Owner: Data team


  • New and updated content is published
  • The internal update timeline reflects our expectations
  • Partner organisations are satisfied with the data being produced and progress is tracked


  • We have redefined the breakdown of data collections in the education sector so the starting point for the update rate was not 57%, but 51%! For that reason the target % as defined in the objective is no longer achievable. 70% is a more realistic target and still very aspirational.
  • We updated one of our biggest data collections (NZ Health Survey) along with many others, so while the rates are low, a lot of work has been done and the pipeline is a mix of low-hanging fruits and other large data collections.
  • Using a different measuring methodology, Grace’s update timeline said there were 278 outdated datasets at 8 Dec. Now that number is 207! Huge improvement.
  • We have started processing some environmental tables.

Objective 3: Add 30 additional agencies to our government agency data stocktake

This is a continuation of our ongoing efforts to research all data made publicly available by New Zealand government agencies. In this quarter, we want to research at least 30 additional agencies. This will bring our total to over 150.

Owner: Data team


  • Internal and public-facing catalog is updated with new data collections


  • Very much on track. We have a list of 34 agencies for the quarter and we have already completed 29. The overall tally is 152.

Function 2: Make it easy and compelling for people to find and use New Zealand’s data

Objective 4: Add data content for comms

Data4Comms II: This is the sequel to the objective that sees the data team serving the comms team. This will include at least 4 new blogs, ongoing updates on data progress, Stuff charticles etc. Unlike most sequels, this one won’t disappoint.

Owner: Data team (Comms team are executive producers)


  • At least four new public posts / blogs are published
  • Comms team is supported and kept up to date
  • We have ongoing media presence in the form of charticles and suchlike


  • How to Read a Chart blogs are live!
  • Two Teach Me How to Data blogs are on Medium and needing final review. Third one is being written.
  • Comms are being kept up-to-date and new data is going to be promoted on social media soon.
  • Charticles are progressing as usual.

Objective 4b: Develop plan for place based content

To form a plan of attack for an expansion on the ‘See Kaikoura clearly’ document by gathering together a bunch of select variables for each available location for use in similar work pieces, social media content, events, talks, and educational content.

Owners: Miekes (& Noush)


  • A methodology for gathering together desirable data
  • Determine if there are time savings to be made by collecting data for a certain amount of locations at once

Objective 5: Complete Project Meerkat prototype

Owner: Product team


  • a report of findings and a prototype


  • Tracking along well, we have a proposed technical approach which we’re circulating internally for feedback from trusted advisors. We’ve made decent progress on wireframes and have a proposed UI approach, which will be further refined pending input from client

Objective 6: Development completion of Search and Enumeration phase 1.

This is to resume from being on hold while Chart interactivity was given priority. It will set us up for project meerkat and chart rebuild work.

Owner: Product and Development teams


  • completed infrastructure for search and enumeration improvements to allow us to continue iteration.


  • This work comprises four trello cards; “catch-all enumerations” card is all but done, LEVs card is close to done and the two remaining cards are likely to be done by end of quarter

Objective 7: Product development: Digits design round two

Second design round completed + some people testing. To keep some momentum on this, and progress iteration and design.

Owner: Product team


  • Feedback taken onboard and new designs created
  • People testing documented and feedback resolved.


  • no progress on this yet, as Meerkat being worked on first

Objective 8: Product development - Research and scoping phase of Charts 2.0 is underway

Is high priority to benefit both the Data and Comms teams. Will document functionality for public use on website

Owner: Product


  • Clear documented process that steps out requirements and order of work


  • Amy is looking at the pieces that we need to work on before we can rebuild the chart server, and highlight unknowns. This objective will likely move over to next quarter.

Objective 9: Adopt modern software deployment practice.

Operationally, we deploy software like they did in the 70s, because we’ve been doing things by hand since the beginning because we had no money and we were always in a hurry. It’s messy, risky and makes everything we do more expensive and more complicated. Modern operational practice is to automatically deploy software and the systems required to run it based on changes to the source code, and to minimise human inputs into this process to reduce errors and unexpected failures. It also improves developer productivity and greatly reduces the time required to recover from outages or failures, either internally or in the service provider platforms.

Owner: Operations team


  • An automated bare metal deployment process, from source, including a data restore.
  • Integration with a testing framework capable of blocking deployment.
  • Documentation of the deployment and restore processes.
  • Successful bare metal restore by a non-technical staff member.


  • Due to a shortage of development resource, we will probably engage a contractor to do some of this work.


  • We’ve had some meetings with industry experts and come up with a plan.
  • We’ll write up the plan before the next meeting.
  • There will be several work streams: some for figure.nz dev/ops staff and some we could outsource, and they might become separate objectives.
  • This is a long term process and will outlast this quarter.
  • We may be able to complete a simpler, local version of a testing scheme this quarter for developers to use on their own computers.

Objective 10: Create a framework for test coverage of our codebase.

At present, we have no way to identify defects introduced by code changes, and this causes public outages and unnecessary development costs to remedy. It will also hinder our ability to add new developers in the future. Best practice is to integrate automated testing into the deployment pipeline so destructive changes are identified and can be used to prevent deployment of faulty code. This requires us to add software to perform this testing, and to modify our coding practices to accommodate them.

Owner: Development team


  • Other teams consulted on critical test targets.
  • Suitable testing frameworks identified.
  • Modified code deployment pipeline, including testing frameworks.
  • A single representative test fully integrated.
  • Integration with new ops process, including automatic deployment blocking.
  • Plan to add wider test coverage (contractors, volunteers, etc.).


  • We’ve met with some experts and formulated a plan. This plan needs to be written up.
  • Most of the work will probably be internal.
  • There’s some overlap with Objective 9.

Objective 11: Develop comms plans for one of our priority audiences

As the comms team, we want to understand who our potential audiences are and make sure we’re getting our content to them in the most effective way. This quarter we’ll be looking at our education audience.

Owner: Comms team

The outputs are:

  • A review of the education audience: who they are, where they are, what they are doing, and what information they would find useful from us.
  • Exploration with product on what is upcoming and what else is possible to better meet their needs.
  • A documented communications plan for our education friends.


  • We’re in the process of amending our media audience research interview script for the education audience.
  • Next step is deciding the mix of educators and students (and what ages of students) to speak to, then contacting people to arrange interviews.

Note: this will likely extend beyond this quarter as school/varsity people won’t be back on deck until February

Objective 12: Develop a data literacy toolkit

As the comms team, and following on from Kōanga’s media-as-audience objective, we want to be proactive with our media friends around data literacy and helping them to use Figure.NZ.

Owner: Comms team

The outputs are:

  • A set of resources to share with media focused on data literacy and how to use Figure.NZ.


Objective 13: Set the parameters of the behaviour change project

As a member of the comms team I want to form a plan for how to approach the behaviour change project.

Owner: Kimberley

The outputs are:

  • Engage the people that need to be engaged.
  • Write a project plan.
  • Figure out the reasons why we want people to change their behaviour.


  • Kimberley has planned an org-wide session to discuss what behaviour it is we want to change.
  • We have now made contact with NZ’s 2 experts in behaviour change
  • Research into the disciplines of behaviour change & social marketing continues.
  • Next steps:
    • Lillian, Ngapera and Kimberley to meet with experts.
    • Begin outlining the project plan.

Objective 14: Decide how we’re going to track and monitor things

As the comms team, and following on from our engagement objective, we want to make sure we’re being efficient with the way we track and monitor things.

Owner: Comms team

The outputs are:

  • Investigate and decide on what tools we might need.
  • Design a clear and efficent model for tracking our metrics.


  • Metrics spreadsheet has been rejigged to reflect our new measurement approach
  • Noush has researched social media management & monitoring tools.
  • We’re doing free trials of Buffer, True Social Metrics and Hootsuite; and have reactivated our old Sprout Social account. Will test these over the next couple of weeks with a view to choosing one.

Objective 15: Kick-off Figurehead communications

We want Lillian to become the face of knowing and using figures in New Zealand as part of our behaviour change efforts, so that people get lots of examples for how figures can actually be used.

Owners: Lillian and Kimberley


  • 3 Figurehead videos shot, edited and shared publicly


  • Lillian and Kimberley have agreed an approach and the script is written for the first video on electricians which will be shot this week.
  • The second video will be on midwives, the third topic hasn’t been determined, but perhaps on deaths.

Function 3: Enable the best team to deliver the main functions on an ongoing basis

Objective 16: Document the installation, configuration and use of the common software tools for our organisation.

This is a prescriptive guide and covers aspects of accessibility and security. It is a distinct, self-paced resource, not a replacement for the cultural documentation already within Tohu, and is intended for both onboarding of new staff and as reference material for existing staff.

Owner: Organisation team


  • A self-paced training guide that describes the correct way to install, configure and access all of the common software tools we use.
  • All staff at a consistent level of access to common tools.


  • This is separate to Tohu because (a) it may contain sensitive information and (b) it requires its own structure and hierarchy to serve as a reference tool for existing staff (vs. a training tool for new staff).


  • This is on hold due to Meerkat and the operational changes work which has a higher priority (and also obsoletes some of our existing systems).

Objective 17: Establish risk register and update process

As an organisation it is important that we are aware of the risks we face and have an active ongoing plan to mitigate these risks, and to identify more as they arise.

Owners: Strategy Team


  • Comprehensive risk register including mitigation plans for each risk identified
  • Defined process for addressing and updating the risk register


  • First draft of the register and process has been written, comments have been received from the team and the next iteration will then go to the board for review and iteration. Well on track to have this objective complete in the next 2 weeks.

Function 4: Raise enough money to deliver the main functions on an ongoing basis

Objective 18: Establish Figure’s 20

The Figure’s 20 partnership needs to be fully formed and executed, then launched publicly.

Owners: Revenue Team and Communications Team


  • Execute all 20 partner contracts
  • Plan the public launch of Figure’s 20


  • Good traction with several potential partners. Revenue team are having daily check-ins to ensure we’re doing everything we can to push things along.

Objective 19: Establish each partner

We have 20 new partners and it is very important that we manage our relationship with them well and deliver value for them.

Owners: Revenue Team


  • Documented activity plans for all 20 partners
  • System and processes for managing partners and stakeholders defined, including their contact details, reporting cycle and activities
  • Communication plan with partners established, including opportunities for them to engage, summary of things we are learning and activities we are doing, how they can work with other partners and our lens of the world


  • Ngapera being brought up to speed with formerly signed partners with Lillian
  • On track with communications so far to get everyone engaged in setting activity plans and comms plan.
  • All the raw info is now compiled so we have a better understanding of what’s needed in a system which we will then discuss with Rob.

Objective 20: Begin process for booking CP

Owners: Revenue Team


  • Define short-list of CPs
  • Define offering for CP
  • Book meetings with all on short-list


  • Lillian and Ngapera meeting on 25 Jan for 2 hour session to complete first 2 outputs, then will circulate with board to discuss next Friday before booking meetings.