Annual reviews are a massive agile anti-pattern

January. Time for the annual review. A moment for discussion and reflection on last year’s plan. Maybe some appraisal here and there. Reflection is good, right? I mean, in Scrum we almost preach about inspection and adaptation.

Source: Adam Jang on Unsplash

Career development is empirical, too

There were some things I planned, together with my employer, for the 2020 year. Things included advancement on the Professional Scrum Trainer track, obtain the last certificates by (gotta catch ’em all) and follow up on the Co-Active Coaching fundamentals I did in 2019. These provide easy checkboxes to tick off.


“Annual” reviews should go

I uphold nothing against the idea of inspecting personal goals in order to plan. Just like it’s important to strategize your product and have some guidelines on where you want to go. I do uphold a grudge toward the rigidity of setting that date in stone and leaving out any options to adapt the plan.

  • How well I perform according to the people I work with directly
  • How well I perform for my own employer (revenue, knowledge sharing, coaching colleagues)
  • Personal development
  • Business development (not restricted to “just” my agile contribution. Think about marketing activities, for example)
Source: Mikel Parera on Unsplash


For me personally, annual reviews no longer work. I see it around me, too. I can almost pinpoint it in my agenda. Reviews are coming up and one of the other comes to me asking for mandatory feedback, rolling their eyes. Annual reviews are outdated, rigid, and take away the ability to inspect and adapt for performance perspectives.

Scrum Mastering from the Trenches. Podcast host at “Mastering Agility”, available on all big platforms. LinkedIn:

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