Metrics and incentives – Who needs them?

In my experience, I believe we can’t measure agile teams looking at individuals first.

I see people in sales teams being measured by that. And I think that can work in some companies and help driving the right behavior. Or not. 🙂

Metrics should be team metrics, not individual metrics. Team will make sure to balance numbers and attitude. A team should be responsible to define metrics together with the organization. Remember that quote:

“Tell me how you will measure me… I will tell you how I will behave” — Eliyahu M. Goldratt

If you are looking for an individual metric, I would suggest to measure how much knowledge a person bring to the team. So it’s not about how much one can get things done, but how much can a person help the team to get things done. Questions to be done:

  • Is the individual looking for improvement?
  • Is the individual engaging the team to work on improvements?
  • Is the individual creating knowledge in order to improve?
  • Is quality a team focus?
  • What about customer satisfaction?
  • Is current behavior reflecting on organization revenue?
  • Are we, as a team, delivering in a good rhythm?

The process of defining goals to individuals working inside a software development teams is just a way to destroy teams and create heroes. — Daniel Wildt

We should always work so that teams can be recognized as a unit. They should be able to cooperate and work together. More important, they should have autonomy to take decisions. Who needs to get a feedback or even who needs to be released from the team? It’s a growing process.

Specific goals and “triggers” can be very important for those working on a sales team. Some teams use more tangible goals and ways to be measured.

But the same does not apply to a software development team. In my opinion, I don’t want my team to work 15 hours a day. That’s not going to get the job done. That’s going to get a tired team, and a team that will deliver defects. I want them to be focused. I want them to have motivation to come back day after day. I want them to tweet about how good is to be part of the organization and how good is to be part of the team. I want them to enjoy what they do inside the company. I want them to grow and see how much they can learn, get more responsibility and freedom.

Now, I know this is not normal in lots of companies. Specially those that grow a “Dilbert culture”… sometimes people are pointed as leaders instead of being grow leaders.

People should be called leaders because of what they do, not because of a job description. — Daniel Wildt

It’s all about the culture we can find inside the organization.

— Daniel Wildt (check other posts in English)

2 pensamentos sobre “Metrics and incentives – Who needs them?

  1. Very nice article, Daniel! I do agree with your opinion but a question comes to my mind: how to deal with merit? How to reward those one that stand out? Would like to see your opinion about. Regards!

    1. Hey! Great question! It’s about how they stand out.

      I develop people to share and create knowledge as a team. More of an OpenSource mindset. Share, create, grow.

      It they are delivering and helping other teammates to grow that’s how I see the big picture. They will get rewarded based on companies possibilities.

      If they are looking only for their own growth… they can even stand out, but they will need a different environment. 🙂

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