I work as a software developer. My company determines productivity by "dev points," which is earned by completing projects, and these points are used to determine raises, promotions, etc. (This is already widely acknowledged amongst the employees to be a terrible metric, but that's outside the scope of this question.)

They post on the wall the "Top 15" and "Bottom 15" dev points earners for each month (this is out of close to 150 developers).

Is it normal to post the bottom 15 employees publicly? It seems pretty cruel to me to try to shame employees like that.

I found myself on that list because my team lead wouldn't assign me any projects for well over a month. She knew I had nothing to do but wouldn't give me any projects, so I used the time to learn about new technologies that we were planning to use in the future.

Update: This is in the US.

  • 6
    This is terrible, especially as it is not always the developers' fault for lack of story or dev points (as in your case)
    – HorusKol
    Jan 21, 2017 at 15:19
  • 4
    I'd look for another job. Keeping you on ice with no project is itself a sign of a dysfunctional environment in my experience. Publicly scolding you for it is crazy. Also, performance metrics are bad s/w dev management. They always create perverse incentives, they're always bad for morale. It's no fun working for management that doesn't care about morale or about incentivizing the wrong things. Jan 21, 2017 at 19:14
  • 5
    @JoeStrazzere: I'd grade them all as Bottom Managers.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 21, 2017 at 20:10
  • 6
    Top 15, fine. Bottom 15; that's a red flag and I'd be looking a for a new job immediately even if I weren't one of the bottom 15. Your employer thinks it's fine to publicly shame their employees and they don't respect you. You wouldn't see me for dust. Jan 23, 2017 at 11:57
  • 2
    @FakeName I'd do the opposite, personally. There are bound to be things that generate "dev points" which are hardly any real use whatsoever; do them. Jan 23, 2017 at 11:59

3 Answers 3


I would say this is not normal outside of a sales organization. Sales companies (for the most part)will post everyone's sales top to bottom, and yes, it is embarrassing and sucks to be on the bottom if you have a bad month.

It sounds like the management prefers the transparency into what everyone is doing and how well they are doing it (even if it is inaccurate and unfair). You can either try to abolish the system by coming together with your devs and saying this is a bad way to measure performance, you can play by the rules and do what needs to be done to earn points and get a promotion, or you can look elsewhere for a better culture fit.


To answer your question: It's not normal. It's embarrassing. It shows that your management is made of petty, childish, clueless embarrassments. I'd advise you to find a new position and then leave, no matter where you are in that ranking yourself. Management has demonstrated their foul attitude towards you and your colleagues, and at some point it will bite you. Badly.

You used your spare time to learn new things, which is very commendable. If your manager finally gives you a project, don't let that stop you from learning new things, which will be very helpful for getting a new job. Your management clearly demonstrates where your priorities should be.


Performance appraisals are supposed to be confidential. That's because there is an individual backstory behind every performance appraisal and the corrective action(s) must be tailored to the specific areas where performance allegedly fell short.

It is hypocritical of employers to demand that employees don't discuss their compensation packages with each other while outing the alleged poor performers. It is also hypocritical of employers to demand that their employees give them two-week notice while reserving the right to fire on the spot and without providing severance. Unfortunately, part of the employer/employee relationship is very one-sided.

Your employer has broken no labor laws outing you. Whether the employer was ethical or fair in outing you and the other allegedly poor performance - what good does it do you if I said "no"? I believe that your employer's action in outing you and the others is counterproductive but acting counterproductive is well within your employer's prerogative.


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