The four types of goal driving reviews

Given the importance of staff motivation I’ve found it odd that many organisations have little structure around their annual review. Of course they have a process – typically timed around the annual pay review and bonus cycle – but often little guidance as to how the actual goals are arrived at. The most succesful reviews I have seen focus on four specific areas:

1 – task based. The fundamental tasks the business needs you to perform. An example might be “deliver the reporting subsystem for XXX within your initial time estimate”. These are the tactical things the business needs to have done. They are the most important goals, but also the most subject to change. In many companies these are the only goals given

2 – role based. These are goals aimed at increasing your effectiveness in your role. They might typically involve training, mentoring (being mentored), attendance on conferences or generally doing somethng which increases your effectiveness in your role

3 – strategy based. These are the longer term goals which contribute the overall IT vision, for example “work with QA to develop a robust set of automated tests addressing all bugs found within your sprints”. Of course this depends on having a goal and vision for IT itself, and we address that later

4 – personal development based. These are based upon your personal development goals. The trick here is to align personal develpment goals and aspirations with the needs of the company. Arguably these are the most important goals; after all,  if you only have (1) you have someone doing a job, if you have (2) you have someone learning to be better at their job but not moving on in their career, if you have (3) you have a person who feels involved with and part of a larger whole. Only when you have (4) do you have someone who is delivering, happy and has a career path within the company.

So lets look at each of these types of goal.

Task based

IT strategy and vision

The vision for 2013/14 is “Engineers feel that their job is important and they can make a difference. They are excited by the prospect of creating something new and innovative that matters to our customers. They work to a routine which they believe is the best in the world. They can be counted on to deliver new features faster and to a higher quality than our competitors.”

The strategy is “Embed a development culture to deliver to committed timescales in a deterministic, repeatable and predictable manner. Strengthen key strategic areas with the best skills and talent to build a highly energised, effective and disciplined team. Provide our customers with the best products by developing a culture that enables the development team to innovate and deploy new features faster than our competitors.”

The Goals for 2013/14 to deliver the strategy are:-
1. 80% Sprint Predictability
This means that 80% of the stories commited to are delivered within the planned sprint. Why not 100%? Well because if we consistently hit 100% then by definition we are not setting our sight high enough!

2. 80% bugs contained in Development/QA
This means that 80% of the total bugs found are within the sprint dev/QA process – not within Integration Test or UAT.

3. 90% Requirements and Design Stability during sprints
This means that 90% of stories within a release are not changed within that release. Obviously stories change – that is arguably the point of Agile. However there is a difference between changes due to more detailed technical planning and changes due to fundamental changes in architecture. These are what result in stories being stopped and re-planned/ rescheduled, and these are what we want to minimise.

This feeds into a maximum of 4 objectives:-
1. Role Based Objective – typically “deliver x by y”
2. Predictability Objective to help secure the 80% of deliveries being on time
3. Quality Objective to ensure that we contain 80% of bugs before we release
4. Requirements and Design Stability to ensure that we have stable requirements and design before we start our sprints
The R&D LT will track each goal at the department level and publish these on a monthly basis so that there should be no surprises at year end.

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