Is gauging a team's performance using scores assigned by other stakeholders valuable?



  • We have a new way of gauging teams.

    All the individuals involved (business owners, managers, stakeholders) except the team itself gauge how they felt the team did using a score. If the score is higher, they performed better and produced more, if it's lower, they didn't. It's a number given at the end of a Sprint, during the Retrospective, about the whole team's output.

    Do other companies do this? Is it considered Agile? Can it show real insight?



  • There is nothing wrong with this type of scoring. This type of customer confidence score is the same general idea as NPS and a multitude of other score. Whether or not it is healthy is largely dependent on how it is used.

    First, it is important to understand what this score is and is not. It is a satisfaction score. It tells you about the individual's subjective feeling of contentness or excitement about the results of the sprint. You mention productivity in your question and it is absolutely not this. A productive sprint could be easily marked low because some stakeholder's priorities lost out to another's.

    Second, understand what you want to do with it. Satisfying customer needs is very agile, but how will you use this to accomplish that? Is the score specific enough? Does the team understand the feedback in a way that let's them incorporate it into their next sprint? Is the metric consistent with the conversation in the review?

    Next, I would be careful to consider if this will be used as an extrinsic reward or penalty. These types of metrics can often work when the metric is inextricably tied to the behavior you want and you are dealing with largely mechanical tasks. This is because they cause people to focus on the metric. However, in cases where narrow focus is counterproductive, this can actually diminish performance and in cases where the metric and result are only loosely coupled, it can lead to severe gaming.



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