Get Rid of Performance Appraisals!!! Performance Appraisals are incompatible with the Agile mindset!!!

Hi guys, in my last post, I explained what a performance review is, and why it fails. In this post, I am going a bit further. I explain how performance appraisals are incompatible with the new way of leading people, this is the second post of a series of three.

In modern companies that embrace Agile mindset, it is expected to focus on team work, but in reality individual performance appraisals focus on us as individuals not on the team itself. When we forget ourselves and focus on the team, problems such as the ones that were referred, here will arise. Another possibility is the other extreme that is referred in Abolishing Performance Appraisals refer: “Yes, work in teams, but remember, take credit for yourself, get recognised, watch your back because you are accountable for you, and that’s what goes in your file, not the team stuff”. I do not see value in any of the situations.

During the past years, several books were published about the importance of unleashing intrinsic motivation on people during their working time. Companies keep focusing on practices that reinforce the behaviour “do this and you get that”, and this is exactly what performance appraisals mean. My friend Vasco Duarte says that performance appraisals are a hidden whip from your boss, it transmits the idea of: “Do what I want or there is no bonus or career advancement for you”.

Another interesting characteristic of modern management is the fact that we want to respect diversities. Like Tom and Mary say: We want to manage for diversity and capitalising on the differences in people, instead with performance appraisals we create an approach “one-size-fits-all”, treating everyone in the same way forcing using the same process over and over again.”

New managers understood they need to shift a focus away from inspecting people to examining and understanding processes, instead they rely on people inspection and Management by Objectives. Processes should focus on JIT (Just in Time) way of working. Performance appraisals cause supervisors to stockpile and rework feedback, guidance and development triggered by calendar rather than offering help just on the right time.

Modern management already understood that a system is not the sum of its parts, it´s the sum of parts plus the interaction of all parts. So why companies care only with the parts (this is what performance review does) instead of focusing on improving the whole system.

Below there is a picture I took from the book Abolishing Performance Appraisals by Tom Coens and Mary Jenkins. This picture is a fantastic summary of why performance appraisals are incompatible with new ways of management.

photo (2)

This blog post is part of my new book that I am writing: Get Rid of Performance Reviews, if you are interested on the topic please subscribe as a Beta Reader and receive the 1st part for free right HERE.

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Leave a Comment

    • rswh
    • November 26, 2013

    Hello Luis – you might like to look at what Simon Cromarty has posted on this topic on his blog. Part one is here: (there are three parts)

    • Vasco Duarte
    • November 18, 2013

    Good post. *Individual* performance reviews are also incompatible with: cooperation (I want to get a better score!); collaboration (I can’t help you reach your goal! I have to reach mine!); cross-functional teams (I want to help my unit reach its goals or I will suffer); customer focus (when was the last time you were in contact with a customer?).

    In fact, individual performance reviews basically destroy performance at the company level!

    Even Microsoft is dropping Stack Ranking – the worst of all possible performance appraisal methods…

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