Agile PM Process Grid–4.12 Performance Incentives

In John Stenbeck’s book “PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, he creates an “agile project management process grid” which describes 87 processes used in agile project management.   These processes are divided into five process groups (Initiate, Plan, Iterate, Control, and Close), which are analogous to the five process groups in traditional project management, and seven knowledge areas which can be mapped, more or less, onto the ten knowledge areas in traditional project management.

Today’s post on 4.12 Performance Incentives,  which is the fourth of the 7 processes in the Close process group, and is part of the Team Performance knowledge area.

Although agile terms are self-organizing and self-directing, it is advantageous, according to John Stenbeck, to have effective assessments of team performance.    In the spirit of agile, you have the team conduct a self-examination along two dimensions:  delivery performance and behavior.

  1. Delivery performance–how efficiently and effectively did the team deliver the features and stories that were defined as the iteration goal?    There should be objective external measures such as how many story points were planned versus how many were actually devivered.
  2. Behavior–how well did the team apply best practices from the chosen agile framework .    This is a measurement of team cooperation, cohesion, and commitment.

The form used to chart the self-assessment can be as simple as having columns or rows for “above expectations”, “met expectations”, and “below expectations”.    This is to be done at the end of each iteration so that trends can be observed, and then finally at the end of the project, when the product is released.

Rewards can be given to the team for those iterations where they have met expectations, and even larger rewards can be given to the team if they have exceeded expectations.

HOWEVER, it should be noted that exceeding customer expectations is a tricky concept, because if you add features that the customer didn’t ask for, this is not exceeding expectations, but GOLD-PLATING, and is frowned upon by the Project Management Institute because it is ripe for abuse.

One final note about performance incentives:   note that they are not given to individuals, because it is important to promote cooperation rather than rivalry within the team.

The next post covers 4.13 Self-Assessment.







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