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A New Approach to Scrum Team Appraisals

1 October 2015

Vinod Kumar Yadav
Persistent Systems Ltd

In traditional approaches, employee annual goals and evaluations are aligned with the organization’s mission and strategy. In Scrum, challenges arise when we must perform evaluations. This issue lies in the fact that teams in a Scrum environment work together to complete the commitments they have collectively committed to for a sprint. Therefore, evaluating an individual becomes difficult.

During an organizational transformation from Waterfall to Agile, consider the importance of optimizing the existing performance monitoring, reviews, and goal management processes. These reviews and processes have to shift the focus from an individual employee to a team that is cross functional and consists of self-organized team members.

60:40 -- A new approach to appraisal

The employee appraisal should emphasize the overall team performance, with the objective of measuring individual goals as well. A weighted system is more effective: The overall employee evaluation will be a ratio of 60:40 (60 percent the team and 40 percent the individual), with the intention of more weight on team achievements than on any individual's. Scrum team goals are based on the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) criteria. The same works for individual goals and can be applied uniformly across the team. Most rewards and recognition are determined based on the team's performance.


The suggested weighted system can incentivize the team performance, whereby each team member focuses more on their overall team performance rather than their individual performance. This indirectly helps develop a deep camaraderie and a feeling that "we're all in this together." This changes the team members' approach; each member thinks beyond his or her individual role, which leads to full participation in team achievement.

60:40 development team roles

A 60:40 weighted team performance generates the following team roles:
  • Team members are self-organizing or self-managing, without externally assigned roles.
  • They help negotiate commitments with the product owner.
  • They help achieve tighter collaboration within the team.

Team goals

Follow these guidelines when defining the team goals:
  1. Team goals must align with the organization’s mission and strategy.
  2. Goals must be clear, so that they are easy for all team members to understand.
  3. Goals must be accepted and recognized as important by everyone who will have to implement them.
  4. The team's progress toward goals must be measurable.
  5. The achievement of goals can be supported with rewards.
  6. Goals should be challenging yet achievable.
Note that the 60:40 ratio is subject to change, based on the organization's needs and overall objectives, and also based on the team's maturity regarding using Scrum processes. Organizations and projects can derive their own ratio that perfectly suits them.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 3.9 (9 ratings)


Tim Baffa, CSM, 10/5/2015 12:06:20 PM
Unsure if this is a transitional proposal you have outlined as an organization moves from individual evaluation to team evaluation, or whether your 60/40 approach is being provided as a solution to the problem.

In either case, I would be extremely wary of establishing any practice in Agile where individual performance is monitored and measured.

My strong recommendation would be to incentivize team performance alongside organizational goals, and to incentivize individual performance alongside learning/teaching/improvement objectives (i.e. - Toyota Way). We should not evaluate individual performance according to an individual's productivity within a team.
Muhammad Zakir Khan, CSP,CSD,CSM,CSPO,REP, 10/6/2015 9:44:39 AM
I would not go for employee evaluation in scrum. Its very difficult as well as it will create gaps of confidence between employees. You will create a race for achieving the maximum in that 40 percent and they will forget about that 60 percent.

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