To Measure or Not to Measure

The question was asked
on StackExchange nine years ago (just around
the time the site was launched): “If not
lines of code , then what is
a good metric by which to measure the effectiveness of remote programmers.”
The answers,
not surprisingly ,
were all along this line: programmers are not supposed to be measured!
I bet those who answered were programmers themselves.
Indeed, why
would a programmer be interested in being measured and being
reduced to a mere number?

Better Call Saul, Season 5 (2019) by Vince Gilligan et al. First, let’s see why putting a metric on a programmer
may be considered bad practice (my opinion: these are merely excuses
from overly-paid programmers/managers who are just trying to keep their jobs, doing
nothing whatever they want, and wasting employers’ money):

“Individual performance metrics are against the spirit of Scrum,”
Selçuk Özdoğan .

“A hero mindset, if left unchecked, plagues the team spirit,”
Bhuwan Jain, a Product Manager at Quovantis .

“Performance reviews destroy morale and kill teamwork,”
Samuel A. Culbert ,
a professor of management at the
UCLA Anderson School of Management .

“Individual rewards foster competition in an environment
where co-operation is essential for success,”
Avienaash Shiralige ,
an Agile Coach at AgileBuddha .

“Individual metrics discourage team collaboration,”
Sean McHugh, a Scrum Master at Axosoft .

“Performance reviews are harmful and completely unnecessary,”
Kane Mar, a co-founder and principal consultant for
Scrumology .

“Performance metrics discourage initiative, innovation and risk-taking,”
Jerry Z Muller ,
author of
The Tyranny of Metrics .

“Human beings cannot, by their nature, be reduced to a number,”
Jimi Fosdick ,
a certified Scrum Trainer.

How do you like that? “Keep paying me, but don’t expect me to give
you anything back! And don’t you dare check my performance!”—this
is what I hear and I’m not surprised. What’s happening is called
the performance management revolution
and the gist of it is this: modern management is so weak that we desperately
need an official name for this chaos, to avoid confusion. Agile is the name.

Managers are not in charge
anymore, programmers are. And it’s sad.

However, not everybody believes in this anarchy. Some experts think that metrics
are actually helpful. Bradley Kirkman et al.
claim that
“recognizing a single team member seems to have a positive and contagious
effect on all the other members in the team,”