Historically most companies use stock standard individual performance plan processes and tools (monthly meetings, Microsoft Word templates, SMART goals). Common issues are difficulty to maintain and version control Microsoft Word template, monthly meetings become upwards reporting meetings to line management, multiple document copies fly around via emails and mostly performance plan gets created at the start of the year and the next time this document is looked it’s at the end of the year.

Performance plans are all about accomplishing inspiring goals. It is time to get creative, innovative, collaborative and introduce agile methodology into individual performance plans. This year I am assisting my team to turn individual performance plans into agile performance plans.

Here are few things you can do to turn individual performance plan into agile performance plan.

  • Performance Stories: Turn goals into performance stories with clear acceptance criteria.
  • Product Owners: Ask your line manager to become a product owner of your agile performance plan.
  • Less Context Switching: Use agile development tools than no-one has to switch a new system to manage goals.
  • Value Steams: Create inspiriting value steams and let your goals flow thought them e.g. (Thinking, Inspiring Goals, Doing, Done)
  • Lean Principles: Use queue limits for goals and concentrate on finishing the highest priority item
  • Performance Plan Sprints: Turn your monthly individual performance meeting into performance sprint planning and retrospectives.

So how your team is creating individual performance plans this year?

Since the start of agile performance plans in my team I’ve noticed increased participation from team members, new value streams are opening up, collaboration has increased, instant feedback on goals is possible by using Agile tool notifications.

Example of Iron Man Performance Board

How to turn your individual performance plan into agile performance plan

In previous post I explained just one scenario where lack of user feedback during development can land your project into the wilderness with your clients.

Traditionally in software teams roles like business analysts, product owners and usability specialists are responsible for getting client’s feedback by variety of means. It’s time to empower our teams with new feedback and interface testing tools, so they can grab every opportunity to collect smart feedback data and build great products, save cost with higher client satisfaction.

Let me propose few ideas for software development teams

  1. Get closer to your clients by measuring and reducing feedback loop travel time.
  2. To me feedback is a “Value Channel”, so if you create new channels you’ll increase the value of your product.
  3. Use new tools available in the market to collect your feedback.
  4. Make data based decisions rather than emotional ones by validating your idea.
  5. Client’s time is important and providing feedback shouldn’t be more than 2 clicks away.

List of few feedback and interface testing tools

Verify - verifyapp.com
Notable –  notableapp.com
Bugherd - bugherd.com
Usabilla – usabilla.com

What’s your feedback loop travel time and what tools you are using to collect data?

So why not validate your strategy before or during your project before you spend too much time and money.