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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Performance measurement of team members?

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  • John Bradway
    ... It s the individual performance measurement that s forced. I d much rather track this at the team level once the eggs are removed. John
    Message 1 of 30 , Jul 31, 2008
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      On Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 6:38 PM, gdinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:
      > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "John Bradway" <jbradway@...>
      > wrote:
      >>
      >> On Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 9:24 AM, Johanna Rothman <jr@...> wrote:
      >> > This is where one-on-ones with a manager can help. The manager can
      >> > elicit data, which will help with feedback, the get-well plans, and
      >> > possibly the team's perspective. But the manager has to have one-on-
      >> > ones with everyone, *and* keep notes on everyone's performance, or the
      >> > under-performer might have a case for discrimination.
      >>
      >> This is the exactly the approach we've been "forced" to adopt.
      >> Thankfully it's never a permanent situation.
      >
      > John, could you clarify this for me? Are you saying you've been
      > "forced" by the situation to adopt having one-on-ones with a manager
      > but that you don't plan to continue doing so after you've gotten rid
      > of the bad eggs?
      >
      It's the individual performance measurement that's forced. I'd much
      rather track this at the team level once the eggs are removed.

      John
    • icarusmccabe
      Peter has raised the issue of individual compensation in a particularly dysfunctional scenario. I would like to reframe it more generally: given the best of
      Message 2 of 30 , Aug 12, 2008
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        Peter has raised the issue of individual compensation in a
        particularly dysfunctional scenario. I would like to reframe it more
        generally: given the best of all possible organizations, how should
        we approach the compensation of individuals working in agile teams?

        Ron Jeffries hinted at it in one of his replies, but didn't
        elaborate much. What factors do we look for and point to say, yes,
        this was a team effort but here is clearly an exceptional
        contributor whereas this one is not so exceptional. How much of the
        compensation should be determined by team performance, and how much
        attributed to individual characteristics? I intuitively sense that
        conventional HR wisdom is misguided, but what do we replace it with?

        Perhaps we can leave the legal issues aside for a moment, although
        as a practical matter that's eventually going to have to enter the
        discussion--even agile organizations may have to deal with
        disgruntled employees.

        Thanks for any thoughts,
        Rich McCabe


        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Hundermark"
        <peter.hundermark@...> wrote:
        >
        > Imagine, if you will, the following hypothetical situation in an
        > enterprise Scrum environment. The CEO wishes to identify the
        > lowest-performing X% of individuals and fire them. He also wants to
        > identify the top performers and reward them (or at least make sure
        he
        > does what is necessary to retain them). He introduces forced
        ranking
        > (aka stack ranking, vitality curve) to achieve this.
        >
        > Do you agree with measuring individual performance of team members?
        >
        > If so, how should one do this? What are the risks to the
        cohesiveness of
        > team?
        >
        > If not, how would you determine how much to pay individual team
        members?
        > Or would you pay everyone the same?
        >
        > How would you advise the Agile coach in this scenario to proceed?
        >
        > Peter
        >
      • James S. Fosdick, PMP, CSP
        ... No. ... See above. ... The fact that you said cohesiveness suggest that you ve at least partially answered your own question. Measuring individual
        Message 3 of 30 , Aug 12, 2008
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          > Do you agree with measuring individual performance of team members?

          No.

          > If so, how should one do this?

          See above.

          > What are the risks to the cohesiveness of team?

          The fact that you said "cohesiveness" suggest that you've at least
          partially answered your own question. Measuring individual performance
          for pay and retention purposes dramatically undermines the fostering
          of a "swarm mentality". It also suggests that there are organizational
          impediments to true self-organization which is absolutely essential to
          success with Scrum.

          > If not, how would you determine how much to pay
          > individual team members?

          That isn't really a Scrum question but an organizational question.
          Many organizations use the "pay band" concept that factors in skill
          set, experience, seniority etc. Again though this is an HR question
          that is entirely independent of Scrum.

          > Or would you pay everyone the same?

          Not unless they are all equally skilled with equally necessary and
          desirable skillsets have equal experience and have been at your
          organization for the same amount of time.
          >
          > How would you advise the Agile coach in this scenario to proceed?

          I would advise such a coach to lobby heavily against individual
          performance measurement on the basis that it completely undermines the
          basic principles of Scrum. If I were that coach I would argue
          vociferously that what we care about is the team producing value and
          that the team is the best one to decide who is and is not performing
          and let peer pressure do the rest. Really poor performers will likely
          get "voted off the island" by the rest of the team (I've seen this
          happen numerous times). The nickels and dimes the organization saves
          by "optimizing" team makeup will be more than offset by losses in team
          output caused by such tinkering. In terms of pay rates etc. I would
          argue, as a Scrum coach, that Scrum doesn't really address those
          issues and that the organization might want to hire an experienced HR
          person or consultant to work on those kinds of policies.

          Jimi
        • myoungtai
          Dave - I have seen this this happen naturally, but not to the extreme you describe. The underperforming member gets put only on tasks that are off the
          Message 4 of 30 , Aug 13, 2008
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            Dave -

            I have seen this this happen naturally, but not to the extreme you
            describe. The underperforming member gets put only on tasks that are
            off the critical path to getting a story done, and other team members
            avoid pairing situations with them.

            I will add another twist - what if this person's pay-rate is out of
            proportion to their responsibilities and productivity within the team?

            mike y


            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "davenicolette"
            <dnicolet@...> wrote:

            > Of course that's a glib answer. It would be a long, slow process of
            > change to convert an organization at that level. In the meantime,
            > here's something I've seen teams do with the underperformer: They
            > don't let that person work on anything of substance. He/she can sit
            > there and read magazines or surf the web, or maybe he/she can be in
            > charge of arranging the team snacks nicely on the shelf or tossing out
            > the speaking token at the daily scrum or moving task cards across the
            > board. Self-organizing teams won't let that person impede their
            > progress. The Legal and HR departments can still go ahead and do
            > whatever they do.
            >
            > Dave
          • Paul Hudson
            What about trying to improve the performance of the underperformer? (Both this and the other thread on individual performance measurement seem to have the
            Message 5 of 30 , Aug 13, 2008
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              What about trying to improve the performance of the underperformer?

               

              (Both this and the other thread on individual performance measurement seem to have the implicit assumption under performers need to be pushed out of the team)

               

               

              From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of myoungtai
              Sent: 13 August 2008 15:43
              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Performance measurement of team members?

               

              Dave -

              I have seen this this happen naturally, but not to the extreme you
              describe. The underperforming member gets put only on tasks that are
              off the critical path to getting a story done, and other team members
              avoid pairing situations with them.

              I will add another twist - what if this person's pay-rate is out of
              proportion to their responsibilities and productivity within the team?

              mike y

              --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "davenicolette"
              <dnicolet@...> wrote:

              > Of course that's a glib answer. It would be a long, slow process of
              > change to convert an organization at that level. In the meantime,
              > here's something I've seen teams do with the underperformer: They
              > don't let that person work on anything of substance. He/she can sit
              > there and read magazines or surf the web, or maybe he/she can be in
              > charge of arranging the team snacks nicely on the shelf or tossing out
              > the speaking token at the daily scrum or moving task cards across the
              > board. Self-organizing teams won't let that person impede their
              > progress. The Legal and HR departments can still go ahead and do
              > whatever they do.
              >
              > Dave

            • James S. Fosdick, PMP, CSP
              ... Earlier I said, the team is the best one to decide who is and is not performing and let peer pressure do the rest. By that I meant exactly what you
              Message 6 of 30 , Aug 13, 2008
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                --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Hudson" <phudson@...>
                wrote:
                >
                > What about trying to improve the performance of the underperformer?
                >

                Earlier I said, "the team is the best one to decide who is and is not
                performing and let peer pressure do the rest." By that I meant exactly
                what you suggest. In practice I have seen it go both ways. Sometimes
                underperformers are pressured by their team to "step it up" and they
                do, often with the help of their team through pairing with a higher
                performer or whatever. Sometimes, however, the underperformer is an
                underperformer because they either don't care or simply aren't capable
                of keeping up with the rest of the team. In that situtation the team
                either relegates them to "grunt work" or "votes them off the island".
                In my opinion this is a significant value of Scrum. Low performing
                team members are dealt with entirely organically without the need for
                management intervention and the team is invariably stronger as a
                result thus eliminating the need for any of the heavyweight low-value
                high overhead processes and procedures command & control organizations
                typically use to identify and eliminate low performers.
              • myoungtai
                James, I agree with your assertion that the underperformers are dealt with organically, however, management will at some point invariably get involved. In
                Message 7 of 30 , Aug 13, 2008
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                  James,

                  I agree with your assertion that the underperformers are dealt with
                  organically, however, management will at some point invariably get
                  involved. In situations I have seen, the question posed by either
                  project managers or development managers is "Why does Team X cost so
                  much more per story point than Team Y?" If the answer is that Team X
                  has a disproportionately paid underperforming member, then the
                  follow-on question, albeit somewhat sarcastic, is "Why don't we just
                  have Team Y do all of the development work?"

                  I'm sure to be pelted with tomatoes for suggesting this here, but one
                  way to deal with this is to adopt the traditional methods of using
                  periodic performance reviews to adjust salary and expectations. This
                  can take years in some cases to make the situation equitable, or could
                  result in reassigning the person to another function. The key to
                  success here I think is communication. If someone does not feel the
                  need for change, they most likely will not change.

                  mike y


                  --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "James S. Fosdick, PMP, CSP"
                  <jsfosdickcsp@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Hudson" <phudson@>
                  > wrote:
                  > >
                  > > What about trying to improve the performance of the underperformer?
                  > >
                  >
                  > Earlier I said, "the team is the best one to decide who is and is not
                  > performing and let peer pressure do the rest." By that I meant exactly
                  > what you suggest. In practice I have seen it go both ways. Sometimes
                  > underperformers are pressured by their team to "step it up" and they
                  > do, often with the help of their team through pairing with a higher
                  > performer or whatever. Sometimes, however, the underperformer is an
                  > underperformer because they either don't care or simply aren't capable
                  > of keeping up with the rest of the team. In that situtation the team
                  > either relegates them to "grunt work" or "votes them off the island".
                  > In my opinion this is a significant value of Scrum. Low performing
                  > team members are dealt with entirely organically without the need for
                  > management intervention and the team is invariably stronger as a
                  > result thus eliminating the need for any of the heavyweight low-value
                  > high overhead processes and procedures command & control organizations
                  > typically use to identify and eliminate low performers.
                  >
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