Agile, People, Project Management

Ceasar Salad and the danger of metrics…

I stopped in at a local grocery store on the weekend to pick up some Dijon mustard for my home-made Caesar Salad and I discovered what I thought was a prime example of bad management practices. Right behind the check out counter was a board that listed the company principles and one large chart for everyone to see – ‘Items per Minute’. I though the principles were OK for the most part. The issue I had was with the one chart that defined success for management.

It seems that management have somewhat distilled all the performance of the employees into that one metric. I asked the woman who was assisting me about the chart and how it made her feel. She was very honest that she did not like the chart at all. She then went on to describe how the chart actually changed her behaviour. She admitted that she sometimes would not give the best service because she knew it would affect her rating. She admitted she became less engaging with clients and helpful with their questions because she knew they would reduce her numbers. Her main focus just became moving the maximum number of items through. Even if it meant bad service to clients.


The moral of the story is to be very careful about the metrics you choose and measure as they will define your team’s behaviour. I’m sure the management didn’t intend for the graph to have these unintended consequences,  but that is the danger of one metric being so visible.


My Caesar Salad turned out excellent and I got a blog topic to boot. I have a great recipe to make a Caesar Salad from scratch with home-made croutons. Maybe I will have to create a blog entry with that recipe one day. 

It also made me realize how lucky we are in our Agile industry and how much we value and respect people. Sometime we forget that not all industries share our management thoughts. Quite a shame.

About Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio has worked for Protegra for 14+ years because of the professionalism, people, and culture. Terry started as a software developer and found his technical calling in Data Architecture. Terry has helped to create Enterprise Operational Data Stores and Data Warehouses for the Financial and Insurance industries. Along the way Terry discovered that he enjoys helping to build teams, grow client trust and encourage individual career growth, completing project deliverables, and helping to guide solutions. It seems that some people like to call that Project Management. As a practical Data Modeller and Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Data Modelling and Agile. Terry considers himself a born again agilist as Agile implemented according to the Lean Principles has made him once again enjoy Software Development and believe in what can be accomplished. Terry is a fan of Agile implemented according to the Lean Principles, the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, Operational Data Stores, 4th Normal Form, and asking why


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: