Performance Review in Jira: Drive Performance and Coach your team on the go

Whatever your business is about, there is one thing that unites you with any other business on planet Earth – you want it to function and increase your revenue.

Unless you’re a one-man band, you have a team that you depend on in terms of completing a wide range of different tasks that you can’t handle on your own. There could be a wide range of reasons for that, such as lack of time, expertise, skills, etc. Whatever the case, all the tasks have to be completed and goals achieved in order for your business to be successful.

This brings us to employee performance. How do you assess it and turn it around for your company’s benefit? By reviewing and measuring your employees’ performance, you can see how well your team members do in terms of meeting company standards, find out who’s the strongest and the weakest link and identify issues that affect your team’s overall results.

In other words, performance review provides you with a clear landscape of your team’s work. Using this data, you can make informed, data-based decisions regarding training, salary raises, bonuses or even penalties, if needed. You can read more about performance reviews and their types in this article.

In other words, employee performance review is one of those crucial tools that help managers and supervisors get a better understanding of their teams’ potential. It is especially useful for agile teams, since they have to be flexible and proactive, which means they must be always prepared for changes.

This is exactly, where Jira comes in. Performance reviews should be objective and free of bias, because otherwise you are risking to keep the people you enjoy on your team rather than professionals you need.

Jira Performance Review Challenges

However, even considering all of the above, you should note that conventional performance reviews performed via embedded Jira features can sometimes be a perplexing task. In most cases, common sense goals associated with estimation accuracy, quality and delivery need you to take several steps and direct reporting.

When you do it in Jira, you will have to create various saved filters and use various features and power-ups to extract data for further calculations in order to make a project progress review in the middle of it and compare the results to the goals set for your team.

The thing is that performance reviews are normally performed at the end of the appraisal period, as managers and supervisors try to get a larger picture of the progress, which often results in the introduction of essential changes to the work process, such as role changes, duty transmissions, budget reconfiguration, etc.

Now, in order to build a productive team, you must prioritize individual performance along with team performance. The better teams understand how their work contributes to the larger picture and the stronger connection they have within them, the more productive they are. In a nutshell, this is the perfect recipe for a successful team.

It’s safe to say that most of the teams using Jira are agile teams. And they usually know that, because this way of project management is the one that opens wider and clearer perspectives.

Speaking of that, most teams still get back to conventional techniques, when it comes down to performance reviews, which is counterproductive. If you take advantage of Jira’s performance tracking capabilities, you’ll be astounded at the things you will discover as a result.

Conducting Performance Tracking in Jira

Jira provides you with a set of helpful features for agile project and team management, focusing on metrics that will make the process easier and more practical in the long run.

Velocity

This is a metric meant for measuring the average work amount your team completes during a Scrum sprint. You can measure this in story points or hours. This is the information you can use to see how fast your team is able to work through the backlog.

The idea behind this metric is tracking the predicted and completed work via several iterations. For instance, if your goal is 300 points from the backlog and your team normally completes 60 story points by the end of a sprint, you can predict that it will need 5 iterations to achieve the goal and complete the work.

Velocity also has to be reviewed to see how changes affect your team’s work. In case you see that this metric decreases, it could mean that your team isn’t as efficient in some part of the process as previously.

Sprint Burndown Report

As you might already know, agile teams arrange projects in time-booked sprints. Before starting a sprint, teams usually have a meeting, where they plan and decide on how much work has to be done within it.

Sprint burndown report provides you with data on work completion during the sprint. This report compares the amount of work and time left for its completion either in story points or hours.

Your team has to accomplish the goal – complete all the predicted work within the sprint. If the goal isn’t accomplished, it could mean that some of your employees don’t commit to work enough.

In the meantime, if failing is repetitive, it could be a sign that you should revisit your planning and goal setting. If you can’t divide the work into reasonable parts, your sprint burndown chart will drop.

Epic and Release Burndown Chart

This metric is focused on tracking development progress in a larger amount of work an employee completes. This is where you should also note that one sprint frequently involves tasks from several epics and, thus, tracks the progress of individual epics and sprints simultaneously.

This chart will also help you to get a grasp of the scope creep concept, which indicates that you have imposed more requirements into a project than needed.

That is, if your team is developing a new website, for example, scope creep here would be adding new functions after agreeing on initial requirements. While tolerating this practice during the sprint is not helpful at all, scope change in epics is a regular thing for agile teams as they progress on the project.

The epic and release burndown report tells managers how the work on a project flows. And, if there’s a scope creep case, it could mean that your client might not completely comprehend what you are trying to solve for them.

Control Chart

If you want to take a better look at separate issues’ cycle time, you will appreciate this metric. It lets you see the total amount of time it takes your team to transition from the “in progress” status to “done.” If your team has persistent cycle times across various tasks and projects, you can say that it’s predictable in completing the work by deadlines.

Cycle time measuring helps improving your team’s processes, since you can instantly see how changes affect them. It helps develop a consistent, short cycle time, in dependence upon the type of work into consideration.

Cumulative Flow Diagram

In this diagram, you can see time and issues marked with colors indicating various workflow states of tasks – “to do,” “in progress,” “done.” This is quite helpful in visually determining bottlenecks and weaknesses, thus helping you to comprehend what’s better for your team’s performance.

In short, the diagram should look smooth in its entirety. Gaps or bubbles in any particular color show bottlenecks, so if you see one, it means you should focus on improving that particular factor.

Boiling It All Down

Alright, now, where does all of that take us? How do you make certain your team is tracking all of the above? Jira is a very extensive system that has a lot of tools you can integrate with it – the power-ups available on the Atlassian Marketplace.

There are time tracking tools and other management instruments designed to help users focus on the most important processes, metrics and factors in their teams and project progress. You can use them to formalize your team’s workflows, automate tasks or make sure your team is capable to perform well.

Tracking the metrics described above will help you understand your team’s performance better, identify the strongest and weakest parts in its work and solve issues before they grow into something really serious.

Jira Performance Review and Vectorly

Speaking of Jira power-ups for performance management, you should really check out Vectorly. It’s an innovative team, project and talent management tool you can integrate with Jira. It’s easily found on the Atlassian Marketplace and available for free. You just have to click “Install” and then register on Vectorly’s website to start using it.

After integrating Vectorly with Jira, go to the host application and create a skillboard. Add skills to each position within your team to monitor their progression and implementation throughout the project.

If you’re a bit confused, you may take advantage of templates for back-end and front-end developers, product managers and even designers. At least, that would be a start.

Then, go back to your Jira account and link skills to the tasks already available in Jira (or create new ones and then do the same). As the tasks get completed, you can see how skills either improve or get worse.

By tracking progress, using the metrics described above in combination with Vectroly will help you see what skills are missing or should be improved in your team and if anyone should be promoted or demoted (or fired, for that matter).

One of the best things is that you get unbiased data on your team’s performance, securing transparent and objective feedback.

Vectorly performance reviews provide you with an extensive insight into each employee’s skills, productivity, weaknesses and strengths. The amount of completed tasks, time spent on them, skills manifested in the process and their precise level – all of that will let you see the landscape of your team and give you hints on what you should improve to improve the indicators and results.

You can even see how well your employees connect to each other within your team’s framework. All in all, Vectorly and Jira are by far the finest duo, when it comes to revealing talents and filling in the gaps, while working on projects.

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