Rob Austin's book Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations gives you a model to understand why measurement systems become dysfunctional, and an approach to avoid dysfunction when you are measuring.
Austin addresses some core issues that agile (and other) teams face:
- How to evaluate and reward individual knowledge workers doing complicated things in teams
- How to motivate the individuals on the team to do what helps the team meet their goals, and
- What performance measurements are helpful, and which just add noise.
Much of what I learned from reading this book seemed obvious in retrospect, but Austin explains the problem with clarity and precision, making observations that only seemed obvious once I read them. Early in the book, for example he points out:
Employees true output (such as value to the organization) is intangible and difficult to measure; in its place organizations choose to measure inputs (such as the amount of effort devoted to a task...)Which seems to be such an obvious problem with many evaluation systems that you wonder why so many organizations still do it.
Reading this book won't give you a cookbook for designing a motivation and performance evaluation system. This is a difficult problem, especially for those working in an industry where there is a strong desire to quantify and measure. But this book will help you to understand the problem and enable to evaluate and improve your current practices.
While Austin's book will help you understand the model behind effective performance measurement, there are also more day-to-day practices you need to help your team be successful. For these consider reading Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby's book Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management, which is an excellent guide to the day to day process of people management.
Managing people can be intuitive, but it is also more difficult than many people realize. A desire to measure is useful, but it can be counter productive when you measure without understanding. Software development is a collaborative, human activity, and as such we need to understand that management and measurement and difficult, and doing either without without an understanding of the challenges can lead to unexpected results.