5 Top Mistakes Manager Make with Performance Measurement Programs for Business Analysts


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5 Top Mistakes Managers Make with Performance Measurement Programs for Business Analysts

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5 Top Mistakes Manager Make with Performance Measurement Programs for Business Analysts

  1. 1. 5 Top Mistakes Management Makes With BA Performance Measurement Programs (and How to Avoid Them)Permission is given for you to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon this work, even commercially, as long as you credit the author for the original creation.Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  2. 2. Slides from the presentation given as guest speaker for the general meeting of the IIBA Central Texas Austin Chapter in July 15, 2011. (Notes added for stand-alone distribution.)Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  3. 3. 1. Failing to identify performance improvement objectives before selecting your measuresAdriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  4. 4. Define your performance improvement objectives first In the childrens book Alice in Wonderland, Alice had no idea where to go. When she asks the Cheshire cat which road she should take, the magical cat gives her the helpful reminder to pin down your destination first.Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  5. 5. Define your performance improvement objectives first Always start from the concerns you have, and future state you want to achieve before you starting choosing metrics for your performance measurement system.Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  6. 6. An effective way of identifying appropriate performance improvement objectives is to listen to your business and technical stakeholders. Are there complaints about the time it is taking to complete the requirements for new projects? Do developers end up ignoring requirements documents and relying on conversations with stakeholders or on test plans to better understand software requirements? Such issues are excellent starting points for establishing good objectives for a performance improvement program for your business analysts.Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  7. 7. 2. Succumbing to the tyranny of conformance Photo by imallergic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11638547 @N00/4036051156/Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  8. 8. Too much emphasis on adherence to documentation standards will have individuals working toward this objective at the expense of much more important goals. As a commenter pointed out in this article from Bridging the Gap, “If we have one set of measurements for everyone, then we will end up asking some teams to produce documentation just so we can measure it, and not because the documentation is needed for the project! I have personally experienced this (unfortunately it has been often in recent years), where I was REQUIRED to produce documentation that was useless for the project, but had to exist so that measurements could be made of my team’s effectiveness.”Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  9. 9. Source: “The business analyst: The pivotal IT role of the future”. Hewlett-Packard, 4AA1-5102ENE, October 2007Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  10. 10. Project sizing grid Projects come in all sizes and shapes...Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  11. 11. Metrics about compliance with requirements documentation standards are rarely needed. Managers should be focusing instead on fostering true understanding of the necessary processes and policies by means of training, coaching and mentoring. When adherence to documentation is truly relevant for performance improvement, this objective should be measured against specific agreements, rather than against a generic set of standards that may not be applicable to all projects.Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  12. 12. 3. Measuring “long work” instead of “hard work” http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/05/hard-work-vs-long-work.htmlAdriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  13. 13. Measuring long work (e.g., total number of requirements, number of documents produced, or hours worked) is much easier than measuring hard work – the work that avoids the consequences of failing to identify the correct business problem, or producing incomplete or ambiguous requirements—such as building a software product that is not fit for purpose. A business analyst who identifies a simpler solution for a design that has become unnecessarily complex, reducing costs with development and testing and increasing end-user satisfaction, will be providing more value than another BA that is producing twice as many documents. Measuring hard work instead of long work helps you prove to senior management how business analysts create value for your organization.Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  14. 14. 4. Using performance measurement for motivating or controlling behavior Photo by Im George http://www.flickr.com/photos/imgeorge/5777469905/Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  15. 15. We all know the consequences of using performance measures to punish or reward behavior: it tunnels employee vision, reduces the urge to experiment, causes sub-optimization, and leads to gaming, creative accounting, and fraud. There is a much better use for an individual performance measurement system: to help business analysts and their managers scale successes, and in the case of failed performance, go from “we have a problem” to “there is a performance problem, and this part is caused by an inadequate process, this by a competence gap, and this by lack of management support for the BA work”.Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  16. 16. 5. Forgetting to provide frequent feedback to individual BAsAdriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  17. 17. Purpose of feedback:- Continue positive behavior- Change/adjust ineffective behavior patterns Many managers save feedback for their annual performance reviews, but to be effective, feedback about individual performance must be frequent and consistent. BAs and their managers should be having frequent discussions about current performance levels and trends. In effective feedback processes, business analysts learn what they need to do differently to achieve the expected results, managers learn what type of guidance, support and oversight the BA needs to get there, and everybody develops a clear understanding of what must be done to solve problems and scale successes.Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011
  18. 18. Final words Instead of forgoing the benefits of individual performance measurement just to avoid the misuse of performance data, managers should be working on eliminating the causes of dysfunctional performance measurement initiatives by definining clear improvement objectives, identifying the metrics that matter most for these performance objetives, and ensuring that metrics are used for learning and improving, rather than for controlling or motivating behavior.Adriana Beal - http://bealprojects.com - 7/15/2011