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Q: Individual Performance Evaluation in an XP team

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  • p_jayadeep
    One of the questions that came up in a discussion where I am trying to help a team move to an agile methodology was about individual performance evaluation.
    Message 1 of 99 , Sep 19, 2007
      One of the questions that came up in a discussion where I am trying to
      help a team move to an agile methodology was about individual
      performance evaluation. The manager's concern was on differentiating
      performance as directed by the organization.

      Any ideas on how you guys handle this ?

      Thanks,
      Jayadeep
    • Ron Jeffries
      Hello, Matt. On Friday, September 21, 2007, at 10:43:05 PM, you ... Yes but if you asked me what to wear when it is raining, it might not be a good time to
      Message 99 of 99 , Oct 1, 2007
        Hello, Matt. On Friday, September 21, 2007, at 10:43:05 PM, you
        wrote:

        > I think what bothered me was that I had just read a dozen posts on
        > the topic of setting / meeting expectations and it seemed that every
        > post was shadow boxing with "how do you set individual expectations"
        > rather than "what do you do if your team isn't meeting it's goals".

        Yes but if you asked me what to wear when it is raining, it might
        not be a good time to reply about how to move to a warmer climate.
        The question related to setting expectations and evaluating
        individuals in response to a corporate "ruling" that we had to do
        it.

        > I certainly didn't mean to imply that everyone on this thread is in
        > favor of individual performance evaluations... indeed I think that
        > most are not.

        For the record, there are some matters of individual performance
        that I would argue clearly need direct evaluation. Bringing child
        porn to the office, sexual harassment, violence, and so on.

        My personal belief is that there are levels of performance and
        behavior which need to be addressed, and after a suitable interval
        of management trying to help the individual sort it out, the
        individual needs to find work elsewhere.

        I also believe that there is a very wide range of performance among
        technical people, and ceteris paribus I'd expect to pay the really
        good ones more than the not so good.

        Some might disagree with these ideas, more with the latter than with
        the former, I imagine. But still.

        > However the discussion of the nuances of setting
        > individual expectations, while informative, seems to me to be missing
        > the point. Perhaps I am overly simplistic in my views but setting
        > individual expectations implies a reliance on them for something...
        > and in context that would be a performance evaluation. I realize of
        > course that neither you or Dale is actively advocating individual
        > performance evaluations. In fact I think both of you are in favor of
        > individual goal setting that is used to challenge and thereby grow
        > team members rather than using them as a measuring stick of success.

        I'm not sure. I think that a ritual of a manager sitting down with
        each individual, at least annually, to sum up how things are going
        and set direction might be quite valuable. If we are going to incent
        people according to how the team meets its manager's goals, then
        each individual needs to understand what those are, and any special
        responsibility they may have within that context.

        I also tend to take a special look at how things are going every New
        Year. YMMV.

        > I think a better conversation to have would be "how do we help weaker
        > team members become better contributors for the good of the whole?"
        > I know that I am part of a team that has been tremendously
        > influential in making me a better programmer and in turn I believe I
        > am now contributing to the betterment of the team.

        Yes, that's a good topic. It's just that it isn't the question that
        was asked, as you address below ...

        > In response to the original poster, finding a better way of setting
        > expectations won't help with the HR dilemma. On the other hand,
        > handing them a proposal for increasing the productivity of the team
        > without individual performance evaluations could potentially avert
        > the destructive force of the HR mandate. Unlikely that "corporate"
        > will take the advice but we can dream right? :)

        It's important to dream, and to "act our dream with open eyes, and
        make it possible".

        Meanwhile, we need to deal with the world as it is as well as how it
        might be made to be.

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Fear is the mindkiller. --Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear
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