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Submitted by uwavegeek on


Good morning.


Question (BLUF):  Can anyone state how they measure their knowledge worker's performance, specifically, design engineering? 



In moving into the new year, I'm trying to work on measuring my directs' performance in a more quantitative way.  For those of you who have not read the book 'The Three Signs of a Miserable Job' by Patrick Lencioni, he describes three things that can cause misery in an employee's job.

1 is Irrelevance, perceiving that your work does not matter,

2 is Anonymity, feeling that no one knows who you are or what you do,

3 is Immeasurement, not having any real measure of your success or failure.  

I've got the first two covered.  As the role is primarily design engineering, the projects are often 3-9 months in length and often are pushed around as new priorities rise.  Even without priority shifts, counting 'designs completed' would likley mean counting to 1 or 2 over an entire year which isn't enough to motivate in my opinion. 

My first idea for 2012 is to count deadlines met with a point system based on the task's length.  A 6 week design task would be worth 6 points, 9 if delivered 1 week early, and 1 point reduced for each week late.  Completion is considered only after any outstanding actions are completed. 

Has anyone tried a system like this?  






mewse's picture

As a high-C individual contributor, I really don't want to work somewhere where I feel like doing my best work isn't clearly the best way to be recognised and rewarded. As soon as an abstract (and therefore exploitable) unit like "points" enters the measurement discussion, I mentally switch off.

Speaking only for myself, I'd be much more comfortable with simple tallies of 'deadlines met' and 'deadlines missed', with long projects divided up into monthly (or even more frequent) milestone deadlines. No 'points' required at all.

In fact, I'd be kind of startled and alarmed if I learned that my managers weren't already keeping those tallies.

MT have a podcast about setting annual goals, which I think tackles the whole measurement issue really well. It starts here:

TGilbertPE's picture

One possibility for creating a system with clear metrics is to break the scope of an engineering project/task into several clearly defined sub-tasks.  Consider working with the directs to establish budgets and due dates for each sub-task.  With this plan each sub-task has two measurable items, and a project might have dozens.  At the end of the year there will be an abundance of data.

This approach can be counterproductive if the project suffers from scope-creep without revisions to the budgets and/or due dates.  Take care if you use it, your team will count on you to get added budget and/or calendar time for increases in scope.

Many engineers are high-C (I am), and value a system that has clear metrics.

Good luck