Why your well-paid developers hate your KPIs…

Why your well-paid developers hate your KPIs…

Stop… using fancy KPI tools and charts and hoping they will look at them…

Maybe ‘hate’ is a strong word. Maybe ‘feel frustrated with’ is better. There’s certainly a need for a different type of communication with the people upon whose shoulders your business success is balanced.

If you touch anything digital then it’s critical that business goals and your development team are aligned. That’s common sense, right? Here’s the punchline: many businesses knows this already and yet still try to impose vanity KPIs downwards upon development teams.

So, how can we fix this?

Great companies build their KPIs as a collective, the best companies knowing how to communicate them out to their teams and get feedback, fast. Having business and operations aligned deliver results faster.

Data driven business make better decisions, but how does execution fail to get everybody working together and pulling in the same direction?

One example that I have seen is pushing KPIs and data to operations and developers using fancy KPI tools and charts and hoping i) they will look at them and ii) they will understand.

They i) won’t and ii) they don’t.

Ask yourself about the impact upon culture of companies that place big screens around their offices displaying real time data about their KPIs. The message to developers is “you are data driven people so here’s all the data you can eat” but there’s no context. As we know from personal experience, data without context = no impact, or worse, negative impact.

I see a clear parallel between the way companies used to communicate with customers in the pre-Internet age and the way some companies communicate to their employees. Companies used to push messages in one direction, without interaction or feedback with the customer, think of an paper advertising banner on the street. What’s different between that and a KPI on a big screen that developers see every time they stand up from their desk?

Great companies interact with customers; customers are in the centre. However, the most successful companies don’t just place customers in the centre of the conversations but also employees. Successful companies understood how to connect to their employees, and it’s not a secret, it’s agile.

An organisation can be agile at three different levels:

  1. Use agile communication to share real data with context
  2. Implement agile engagement. Encourage interactions with employees and  let them participate!
  3. Have an agile mindset through all the organisation, from business to developers. Remove hierarchies and barriers.

– This is a co-authored post with Alex Lobera (Tech Lead, Wemanity) –

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