Last week (9 – 11 February 2015) we attended the Scrum Coach Retreat in South Africa. Some friends of ours formed a group dedicated to looking at how appraisals are done at large corporates and if they could be made more agile. We loved what they came up with so much we had to blog about it!

The Authors : 

Philip (@7ft_phil), Justin (@the_jus), Candice (@candicemesk), Yusuf (@ykaloo)

The Situation

     Appraisal must happen in a corporate agile team
   Doing agile and doing it right in terms of delivery of software.
We want to
   Ensure that the appraisal process supports the agile process we embrace. Eg. Adapting to change, reviews more regularly, inspect and adapt, teams over individuals, encourage courageous feedback.


Proposed Elevator Pitch

We’ve all experienced performance appraisals, and we’ve all realised that they violate the agile values that we hold dear. Perhaps subjectivity from the person in power led to an unfair or skewed result, perhaps the infrequency of assessments meant recent events dominated rather  than the big picture? Do you truly feel that the feedback received allowed you to improve as much as you can, and do you feel the reward is fair? Imagine guidelines that shape appraisals past the pitfalls and rewards an agile friendly outcome.


Agile Appraisals Manifesto

Fairness over malice.
Actionable feedback over numbers.
Frequent reality checks over enticing gaming of the process.
Rewards reflective of business value added over rewarding the status quo.

 Principles of the Agile Appraisals Manifesto

  • We respect individuals regardless of the power dynamic in the process.
  • Criteria should be visible and the process transparent.
  • The process is fluid and can change as long as the manifesto is applied.
  • Appraisals should be regular enough to ensure no surprises.
  • We embrace and support and reward changing actions where business reality demands.
  • We recognise the value of work done.
  • Appraisals should be done by people with context.
  • We assess as frequently as possible, but no more frequent than would be disruptive.
  • Metrics should be easy to understand , assessable and achievable, and have a shelf life.
  • We provide frequent actionable feedback to help teams and people improve.


Thank you so much for sharing this with us Phil, Justin, Candice and Yusuf. We think its a great place to start conversations to improve how appraisals are done, especially for organisations where getting rid of appraisals is too big a step right now.