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.

Feb 19, 2010

Some coming presentations

I will be in Mexico City the next two weeks (Feb 22 ~ Mart 5) and during that trip I will be giving the following presentations:
  • Feb 24, Congress building. I will be giving my second presentation on lean-agile, this time to a larger audience that includes industry leaders and some congressmen. It is very likely that it will be broadcasted through the Congress TV channel.
  • March 5, ITESM (Instituto Tecnol√≥gico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey). I will give a lecture on lean-agile and innovation which will be broadcasted to its 33 campuses accross the country via satellite and internet.
Also, Feb 25 is the MexAPLN meeting at the Software Guru offices starting at 7:30 PM. Address is Temstocles 34, 3rd.floor, Col Polanco, Mexico City.

Feb 16, 2010

Jim Highsmith's talk: Beyond scope, schedule, and cost

I'm back home from the monthly BayAPLN meeting. This time we had Jim Highsmith give a talk entitled "Beyond Scope, Schedule, and Cost: rethinking performance measures for agile development". I read Jim's most recent book on agile project management and actually wrote a review on it (posted on by blog and on Amazon.com) and thought this talk was going to have as central point the new Agile Triangle as proposed on the book. I was very pleased that the presentation went beyond that. Jim exposed different ways in which we can measure performance by considering value and quality; and gave a good number of examples. He mentioned the importance on having a better standing point to evaluate and measure performance. A common factor on all of them is adaptability. The metrics must allow changes and be effective measuring under real-world variations. Quality could very well be the most important metric of all; but doesn't mean it should be the only metric to have.