Scrum Values and Principles VS Team Performance review during appraisal

Last post 05:24 pm December 3, 2019
by Timothy Baffa
5 replies
06:01 am December 2, 2019

Dear All,

I have been working with agile/scrum environment for last 3 years. I came across several different challenges, some of them are already handled and while I am still struggling with remaining. Team performance review with respect to appraisal is one of them. I want to open this topic here where we have lots of experts who have been working on or with agile/scrum from a long period of time. While learning about agile/scrum I was taught not to micromanage, let the team decide how much amount of they need to choose. The scrum teaches us that progress should be monitored in a timely manner (sprint review) and in retrospective we should discuss not to pinpoint issues, but to see how we can improve in the upcoming sprint. My question is how do we track individual performance for early performance review. Tracking individual resource work status during retrospect (assigned vs completed/done), will lead me to micromanagement (which I dont want to do) which might result in the losing some of the scrum values such as courage, focus, openness and respect.

Can anybody advise how better I can keep a balance between individual performance track without losing scrum values (courage, focus, openness and respect) or maybe any alternative for doing the same thing differently? I am open for suggestions and other possible ways where  I can keep the balance between Management and team where the team can be fairly awarded during their appraisal.   

Thanks in advance


02:55 pm December 2, 2019

If you're struggling with this, the problem is not scrum, agile, or team performance. The problem is the yard stick being used to measure the team members. Have you tried to get the metrics used by your organization changed to be more team focused?

05:23 pm December 2, 2019

Unfortunately, every company wants to be agile but they want to reward people individually.  I have had luck with basing individual assessments upon how that individual contributes to a team and makes the team better.  Focus on their ability to share work, share information, mentor others.  Are they willing to step in and help when someone is struggling?  Have they shown their ability and desire to work in areas that are not their realm of expertise? Do they share information they discover with others so that everyone can benefit from it? Stop reviewing them based on how they do work by themselves. Don't reward heroics, reward team dynamics. 

06:20 pm December 2, 2019

My question is how do we track individual performance for early performance review.

Are those who wish to review the performance of Scrum Team members competent to do so?

10:53 pm December 2, 2019

What's the measurement for? What benefit does tracking individual performance do that team performance can't?

I like that you mentioned Scrum Values. The Values are the recipe for success; the required elements the entire team must bring in order to be a good Scrum Team. These aren't things you obtain through Scrum.

We use quarterly reviews of role specific scorecards and use self reviews alongside manager reviews, for the goal of generating alignment between you and your manager. However, these are used for growth and development.

05:24 pm December 3, 2019

One approach that I have seen work elsewhere and fits with an Agile mindset, is to evaluate the following:

  • Team-based results (Sprint Goals met, quality-based product metrics, 360 team-based feedback from PO, Kaizen/experimentation results, innovation examples)
  • Individual contributions to the team (mentoring, cross-training, 360 feedback from other team members)
  • Independent learning, professional growth

You are wise to be wary of individual productivity-based evaluations that may be historically popular, but can harm Scrum/Agile adoption for the exact reasons you've cited.

Also, please take note that nowhere did I include the Scrum Master in any evaluation exercise.   In my opinion, even though the SM may have relevant feedback regarding team or individual performance, such observations should only be made within the Scrum Team, and not included as part of an organizational performance evaluation exercise.