Over the recent weeks we have been restructuring the business and especially how we can measure employees performance. The measurement of performance is not a new thing and I am sure that most of you have heard of KPI as a way of being able to see how effectively you are working at a role. However, with development we found it difficult to think up any KPI’s or metrics that a developer could be judged upon. Sure as a systems admin, you could look at uptime and resiliance, but how do you measure the creativity or problem solving nature of being a developer; where sometimes the same answer takes either 2 minutes or 2 weeks?

Here is what KPI’s or metrics we came up with for the development team:

  1. Uptime
  2. Maintenance clients
  3. High fives!

1. Uptime

Uptime is fairly obvious. What we aim for is, of course, 100% across all sites, servers and services. Although sometimes not hitting this may be understandable, anything less than 99.98% is a concern.

2. Maintenance Clients

The number of maintenance clients that we are looking after their sites, servers and services. This is an important metric/KPI as it judges the total workload required for uptime.

3. High Fives!

High Fives! Probably the reason that you started reading was that you wanted to hear more about high fives. Well the reasoning is quite particular. Within any kind of creative subject, which we definitely count both coding and design, it is very difficult to measure actual output. You can look at hours spend doing something, however, largely this doesn’t reward actually knowing the answer and therefore judging purely on amount of time is a not particularly useful metric. Where it may take a junior developer 8 hours to do something, it may take a senior developer 1 hour.

Amount of issues/problems fixed, is also another difficult problem, as it often is difficult to judge all issues as the same quantity. Let us take two extreme examples. Client A, wants you to change the spelling of 1 word on the frontpage; done in 1 minute. Client B, wants you to find ou why their site is slow; commence hours of log watching, load testing, refactoring, integrating with external services, you get the idea. Both are 1 issue, but have extremely difficult dependencies.

That brings us to High Fives as a KPI/metric. I am sure that I am not alone that when I work out something that was hard to do, or solve a new problem, or get some great feedback from a client, that makes me want to high five just about everyone in the room! Now if you explain this to someone else and they don’t think that you deserve a high five, then it isn’t worth a high five. Therefore it is a great, creative metric to judge developer work on! Think about it… John got 10 high fives last week?! He must be doing some absolutely awesome work! Add to that a high five is also a positive thing that makes both you and the team feel better about what they are doing. Saved 10% on maintenance time? High five! Fixed that crappy IE8 display error? High five! Made an eye-watering beautiful site design? High Five!

We’d love to hear what you think about this. Techinically is it peer-judged acclaim/impact, so I guess you could call it that, but who doesn’t want a High FIve!