Team Metrics @Cloudability 6pm 8/7/17
“Is there a penalty for failing to meet a goal?” – My post-event response:
The biggest penalty should be felt within the knowledge worker themselves not delivered through some external system of punishments. If I set a goal and I don’t accomplish it, I’ve already let myself down more than anyone else and the last thing I need is for someone to shame me, berate me, hurt me monetarily, create fear, ect. ect. because lest the situation appear in some way inequitable, I must be punished!
A wise Vice President once told me: “It doesn’t do me any good to whip my horse and win the race if my horse dies after I’ve won.” See, this was a prescient man who understood there would be more races. Our goals all can’t be Pickett’s Charge! In fact as Uber is finding out the hard way that offense, offense, offense, isn’t a great way to run your business and this mentality may actually be leading them to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Time will tell on that one but clearly, punishments are the wrong approach for the knowledge worker whose work is often already vague and you can read Cem Kaner’s Software Engineering Metrics: What Do They Measure and How Do We Know? if you want to delve deeper into the uncertainties of software measurement systems.
Dr. Deming’s Red Bead Experiment shows us that typically the system is the problem not the willing worker. Tampering with rewards and punishments around goals is inadvisable. There are better ways to acknowledge achievement and work on an employees shortcomings than penalizing them for falling short of a goal they were striving for.