A while back I had a conversation with a good friend,
Santi Trench(VP of Sales in NetRivals) regarding motivation, high-performance teams, and KPIs for measuring them. He was leading a webinar for discussing these topics and asked me to join and explain our approach here at TravelPerk.I don't believe there's one unique approach for driving motivation since it's quite dependent on every particular context: the mission of the project, the industry, the team itself, their background. But in general, I try to evaluate all the possibilities from a theoretical perspective using gamification techniques. These techniques are based on the self-determination theory and how to focus on intrinsic motivators.So, how do we at TravelPerk motivate our teams? How do we manage our engineering team and drive each individual’s performance?
Each team is context-dependent, so I usually like to focus on the theory for evaluating the different actions you need to do according to your particular context.To explain the reasoning behind the different actions we do in Engineering at TravelPerk, I will compare them in this post against Paloma Medina's
At TravelPerk, we designed a director plan for scaling up the engineering team. We wanted to almost triple it—from around 40 engineers at the end of 2019 to more than 100 by the end of 2020.For me personally, it was essential to have metrics and monitoring in place (both qualitative and quantitative) that could bring visibility that we were not degrading the quality of our impact.So, we decided to adopt a customer lifecycle framework and use it as an employee lifecycle framework. We defined KPIs in every area of the journey of an engineer. We decided to adopt the
PIRATES metricsand we defined the following:
- Brand-building (Awareness): Activities regarding how our engineering company is addressing the talent.
- Acquisition: How we get engineers in the funnel, how our hiring process performs.
- Activation: Once an engineer is part of our organization, how do we speed up their contribution (onboarding)?
- Revenue: For us, the revenue of the PIRATES metrics is correlated to the engineering contribution. Probably the most complex area, so I will develop it below.
- Retention: Do they stay? ****Monitoring the retention of the engineering team.
- Growth: Do they progress? Some of our KPIs are NPS over the training in our e-learning platform, ratios of promotions, and raises.
Measuring the contribution of an engineering team is a very controversial topic. We should measure our impact based on the customer impact. While we have a lot of influence, we don't have the final call on what to build, and still, we need to see that we are building in a high-performance way. So we decided to define metrics that are meaningful for us, and actionable on a daily basis for members, technical leaders, and managers.In fact, we wrote a whole article about this:
Engineering analytics: Understanding how our teams work to make proactive decisionsThis structure not only gave us the perfect foundation for monitoring the team performance but also provided tools for taking direct actions daily—both as a team and as a member.And, obviously, it was also vital for monitoring the growth of the team and how the COVID-19 situation affected our outcome.