Tribes – Voting off the Island

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Continuing from my previous post, I wanted to talk briefly about employee reviews. I absolutely love Dilbert comics and I had found this comic that solidified my topic for this post.

If you are in a leadership position for an agile team and you also hold the responsibilities for doing employee reviews, you have the opportunity to hold your team to the highest standards as well as allow your team to hold each other to the highest standards.

The review process is as follows:

1. Project Retrospectives – These retrospectives are held monthly by the team. Organized by the team and supported by the team. Developers can often be very blunt and very vocal about the good, the bad, and the ugly. A team can take advantage of this. These monthly project retrospectives is an opportunity for the team to review itself, team members, and what we can celebrate, and what needs changing. Often times, the feedback can be very positive, and sometimes, the feedback can be brutally honest. If someone isn’t pulling their weight, or has consistently been a ‘blocker’ for stories, or productivity, that person is called out. Team members want the best, and should be supported by management to want the best on their team.

2. 3 Month Project Reviews – These reviews are, again, held and organized by the team. In my experience these have been the reviews where the team can vote a consultant or team member off the team. Sounds harsh? It is. In one of my experiences we went through 4 contractors in 2 months and finally landed on a team member that was up to par with the work ethic and excellence that the team demanded. Lots of turn over? Yes, possibly? Will you end up with the best team you can get? Absolutely.

3. Yearly Reviews – These are your standard reviews by management. Hopefully, prior to this you (management) has had individual sit down time with each team member to go over their goals for the year. These goals should be written by the developer, and a conversation about timing, expectations, and outcomes should follow.

In my experience, this voting of a team member off the island has been crucial to the success of the projects I’ve run. Now, I’m no guru or expert on reviews, but this seems to have had some good outcomes in my experience.

What are your thoughts?

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