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I work in a sales development team as a solutions developer, i.e. I build sales and operations efficiency tools.

So, one part of the department is made up of roles like mine; we do different tasks that involve lots of different kinds of work. On the other hand, the salespeople of course have quotas and metrics.

My manager asked our team how we should go about measuring and incentivizing our performance - he doesn't want to leave us out of the rewards program that's starting, but he can't measure us like the salespeople.

How should we go about measuring our performance if what we do changes all the time?

  • Do you follow any methodology for your development (agile, whatever)? I suppose you divide your tasks into sub-taks and end products, correct? – DarkCygnus Oct 5 '18 at 18:11
  • @DarkCygnus I've considered that approach, but then a time issue arises. The incentives are month-based, and some projects take a day, some take a month or two, which makes it tough to measure based on what's completed and when. – pxlpnk- Oct 5 '18 at 18:23
  • Related, not sure if it's a duplicate: How do I demonstrate excellence working in poorly understood or non-core roles? – Dan Pichelman Oct 5 '18 at 20:08
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Please be very careful with metrics of this type. They can backfire badly if the metrics used don't translate into something that benefits the company.

In my previous employer, incentive programs were created for customer facing employees. They really didn't have anything to do with the bottom-line. This bank ran into major problems in 2016 with employees that were gaming the system in order to meet some goal (we all know who this was).

For my current company performance is measured yearly. Bonuses (which can be substantial) are not paid unless the company first meets certain goals as an overall company.

Anything we do in IT (or other 'support' roles) only matters for the overall success of the company. Don't give incentive pay just for doing ones job. The other part of inventive pay is based on the employees job title and then overall performance. Anything done during the year (meals, tickets, etc.) as a thank-you are for the team, department or company.

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How should we go about measuring our performance if what we do changes all the time?

You may have different and varied projects you work on, but all of them likely have things in common. The one that they surely all have is due date.

Regardless of the nature and complexity of the projects, after planning it you can estimate and agree on a reasonable delivery date. Then you or the one assigned can proceed to work on it. If such task or project is delivered before such date it can be considered reward-worthy performance.

Such "reward" or bonus would naturally be proportional to the task and it's complexity and length. For example, finishing 4 one-week tasks before the time agreed would have an equivalent reward to, say, delivering 1 month-long task before the due date. The specific reward is up to management to determine, but you get the idea.

For bigger projects you could consider dividing it into sub-tasks, so the productivity measurement can be done with higher resolution and does not depend on a big, single measurement at the end.

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    And the length of the estimates goes up. If the estimates are not made by the developer, they're a bad metric anyway. Finding metrics for software people is difficult. – David Thornley Oct 5 '18 at 19:09
  • @DavidThornley indeed. That is why I emphasized on it to be a reasonable estimate... such delivery date will depend not only on the nature of the project but also on the resources available (like people on the project, input and documentation, etc) – DarkCygnus Oct 5 '18 at 19:11

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