In my industry, one of the most difficult experiences growing up was the appraisal process. Filling up 4 to 5 pages of a Word document was a test of English language – both for me and my Manager. I recall sitting with the Thesaurus to find synonyms for the same adjective, just to avoid being repetitive. My manager had the same challenge! As a result, it wasn’t a meaningful exercise for the most part. Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that I did not get feedback for improvement. The problem was the scoring process that was quite ambiguous and vague.
This experience was different was when I moved to a Direct Sales function. In Sales, you learn quickly that you are as good as your numbers of the past quarter. No ambiguity, no ill-feelings. That learning stayed with me when I transitioned back to software development.
In my previous organization, I was introduced to the BSC model. Though it was a vast improvement over the earlier appraisal methodologies, the data necessary to adopt that model was still lacking! Hence, its effectiveness was also marginalized.
Here comes the value of a tool like Digite Enterprise. Let me share how we measure our development team. They are measured on 3-4 parameters. First, how did the quality of your delivery improve? We measure this by measuring the % reduction in defects, QoQ. Next, we measure on how long a defect aged in a developer’s queue. Further, we measure how many regression defects were introduced by the developer. We also measure Time Sheet compliance by measuring the difference between muster hours and time sheet hours + process compliance by doing sample audits. It is objective and measurable. With the deployment of a tool like Digite Enterprise where all defects and hours are being tracked, resource wise, this data comes out as a breeze.
The testing team is measured on Defect Containment and the quality of the Test Cases they write (measured by the number defects in their test cases). Test automation team is measured on test case productivity (measured as a percentile of others productivity) and the quality of automated test script (measured the number of defects in their automated scripts). Once again, because test cases and test execution run data is all on Digité Enterprise, this data is available with a few queries.
Our implementation team is measured on schedule and effort variance in their implementation projects. Similar goals can be easily be set for other organizations like Support because all tickets are being tracked on Digite Enterprise.
As a result of all this, we are able to finish appraisals shortly after the quarter end. Our employee frustration with appraisal ambiguity has disappeared. There are no perceptions of manager biases. Our appraisal discussions are done in 20-30mts. In fact, most of the discussion happens around tweaking the objectives for the next quarter based on what we plan for that specific individual for the next quarter.
In the last 20 years, my experience has been that if you limit the appraisal criteria to 3-4 objectives that the organization wants to focus on and can be quantified, the appraisal process is a pleasant experience for all.