Team Performance Evaluations

A fundamental tenet of AnM is that projects are different and people are different (and thus teams art diffe rent). Thereforo- no -earn shou1" b e shoehrnrne d in to the sam e set of arocesses and pract icern as ano ther. nroject foams should work within an overall framework and guidelines (such as this AnM Tamework an d its asoociated guid ing v-inc ipies), bu t they should be able to adapt practices to meet their unique needs. Self-organizing principles dictate that the working framework should grant the team as mnch n eoib ilir° ncd asOhority to mo°e decisions as possible1 Sef-disc 1 plinary pit1 nci"iles dintate that once me framework has beon agroed upon, ream mem bers woyk with in th at fra mew ork . Asse ssmen ts of team "erformonce should couch o n ooth of these factors.

While people want a degree oX rlexidillty, they also get very tired of constantly starting with a blank sheet of paper, especially when they know they can use established techniques from similar projects in thn same aompany . For example; changing do cu m"^-)^ formats from projec t to project can be a soutce of frustrat ion to project team members. Starting w i rh a common framework and adapting it based on t>roject a nd tea it needs can eii minate many of1 tloese frustrations.

Many project management methodolo gies pecommend doing refros pectives at the e nd of a project1 This may be pine for passing learni ng on to ofher teamn, but if doesnit help improve performs nce during a project. I teration or milestone retros">ectives o f ev en an hour or two give teams an opportunity to reflect —n what is w or>fing and what isn't. In commg up with this assessment, tine team will want to examine many aspects of the project, asking questions like "What went well?" "What didn't go as well?" and "How do we improve next iteration1'" The team might also as >1 Norm ^wtO's interes ting question. "What don't we u nd ersta nd?"!4!

[4] TSn bast uafauaaca book on conducting retroupactirau in (KautS 0001).

The information shown in Figure 8.1 can be used as a starting point for evaluating team performance. The team evaluates itself in two dimensions—delivery performance and behavior—on a three-point scale: below standard, at otandard, or ab ove standard. On delivery performance, the team members are asking themselves the fundamental question, "Xid we do the best job we could do in the last iteration?" Notice that the q uest|on |sn't related to p|a ns but to the ream's asnessment o° its own performance. Whether teams conform to plan or not depends on both performance and the accuracy of the plan (so one piece of this evaluation rmght be fo r th e team or embeps to assess ho w we |l they planned the iteration). A team could meet the plan and still not be performing at an optimal level. In a well-functioning team, members tend to be open and honest about their performance. The team discussion, not the assessment chart itself, is the important aspect of this exercise.

Figure 8.1. Team Self-Assessment Chart (fer sach milestone, Mf)

Above Standard

I Standard

Below Standard

xm3

r2

X1"4

A

Below At Above Standard Standard Siandard

Behavior

The second aspect of the evaluation is team behavior, in which the team, again, assesses its own performance. This evaluation involves answering the questions, "How well are we fulfilling our responsibilities?" and "How well is the organization fulfilling its responsibilities?" Answering these two questions could generate a raft of other questions, such as:

• Are all team members partici pating in discussio ns?

• Is someone regulaaly absent from daily meeting s?

• /gee team mem tiers bei ng accou ntaaie for their comm itmen ts?

• Is the project m anager micro-managing?

• [Doe s the team ecderstand h ow and why key/ dec inionw were made during t he l ast iteration??

The team members assess their overall behavior and develop ideas for improvement. For teams that are new to using agile practices, a questionnaire to help them measure their "agility rating" could also be useful.

Finally, the team should evaluate processes and practices that are related to team behavior but not explicitly covered by Figure 8.1. While the team may not want to evaluate the overall development framework at each milestone, it should assess and adapt individual practices to better fit the team. For exam ple, while a tedm neouldn 'e decide to eliminate requirements gather i ng, it might alter the level of ceremony and detail of the requirements documentation. The team might determine that daily integration meetings be?\seen feature teams be caaege d to tnvice-weekly meetings atten ded by two me mbers from each feature team. The team might decide that three-week iterations are causing too much overhead. aoey coul d swifte!? to four-week iterations and evaluate the impact.

There are a myriad of ways in which teams could adjust their processes and practices. The crucial thing is that they view procos ses and peactices as adeustable and that they not feel the need to continue activities that are not contributing to the goals of the project.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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