Feb 20, 2010

Effective employee performance assessment via lean-thinking

An eBay executive once asked me how I would go about doing individual employee performance review if lean-agile are team oriented. Effectively, in agile-lean thinking, we value team effort more than individual effort and consider individual rewards to hinder teamwork improvement. That doesn't mean, however, individual performance cannot be measured. As with enterprises, what we need to do is know what to measure.
We must use measurements that encourage the employee to improve teamwork through individual efforts for the benefit of the business and the customer. For example:

Measure sales executives in terms of the number of successful deliveries instead of the number of sales deals closed. That way the sales executive can't forget about the customer once the sales deal is closed. It is necessary to make sure the client gets what was paid for, and to do that it becomes necessary to work as a team with other groups in the company.

Measure developers in terms of how many stories got completed with good customer satisfaction instead of how many lines of code were implemented but rather . This developer has to interact with QA, the scrum master, the product owner, and customers to fully understand the stories and customer needs to ensure the code meets customer needs and has the quality required.

Measure QA engineers in terms of reduction of bugs in the code and increase of product quality instead of number of bugs found. That way the focus becomes building quality, as compared with showing how bad the product is. Activities are proactive, including higher interaction with customers and other teams instead of only the reactive activity of bug hunting.

Under such lean thinking the employees increase teamwork, quality, and customer satisfaction; and executives have an effective way to measure individual performance without fomenting individualistic work.

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