Case study: The Effective Apps Effective Apps

| March 17, 2019

Case study: The Effective Apps 

Effective Apps is a large software company that develops and sells software applications aimed at the general public rather than at businesses. It has sales and operations worldwide but this case study concerns its Australian business. The human resources director is currently undertaking a review of performance management policies and procedures to be undertaken in the software development teams.

The software development division is located in an upmarket redeveloped warehouse located in the Melbourne CBD.Close to 100 staff are employed in this division, which is structured around three major areas: gaming, business, and communications. Around 40 staff are employed in each of the gaming and business sections, with the remainder in communications. Within each section, work is assigned on a group basis. 

There are four teams of 8-10 staff in each of the gaming and business sections, and two teams in the communications section. The exact numbers in each team will vary slightly depending on staff vacancies from time to time. 

The teams are fairly stable in their composition. However, depending on the leads generated by the marketing division, this may change occasionally. For example, two teams in a section may come together to work on a particular assignment as allocated by the section manager. 

The software development teams are like football teams in which achievement is gained by collaborative effort. The knowledge of the teams and the team members is the dynamo that drives Effective Apps and creates its competitive edge. Their internal customer is the marketing department that identifies the general areas for new product development. 

The performance management policies and practices have developed on an informal basis in line with the company’s concern about not dealing with creative staff in a rigid and prescriptive manner. 

The development teams’ performances are measured against the budgets and milestones of the project plans for the development of new products. Each of the software developers have an annual appraisal with their team leaders. The form and content of the appraisal is left to the appraiser to decide. Generally, appraisals are of individual performance, though some team leaders also consider the overall team performance. 

There are no formal procedures or forms. In particular there are no provisions for personal development plans, which is surprising given the importance of the developers’ knowledge and skills. The pressure of work means that appraisals are often postponed. It is also common gossip that some team leaders are ‘softer’ appraisers than others.

The software developers benefit from profit-related bonuses although over the past few years company profits have not been good. 

The turnover rate amongst the software developers is increasing and, given the competition for their relatively scarce skills, they increasingly hard to replace.

1.    Identify the strengths and weakness of this key performance appraisal issues.

2.    What is your recommendations for changes in the performance appraisal arrangements.

There are two questions of equal worth i.e. 4 marks for each question attached to this case study. You need to answer both questions. Approximately 250 – 300 words relevant answers should be sufficient for this part.]  
Case study: The Effective Apps 

Effective Apps is a large software company that develops and sells software applications aimed at the general public rather than at businesses. It has sales and operations worldwide but this case study concerns its Australian business. The human resources director is currently undertaking a review of performance management policies and procedures to be undertaken in the software development teams.

The software development division is located in an upmarket redeveloped warehouse located in the Melbourne CBD.Close to 100 staff are employed in this division, which is structured around three major areas: gaming, business, and communications. Around 40 staff are employed in each of the gaming and business sections, with the remainder in communications. Within each section, work is assigned on a group basis. 

There are four teams of 8-10 staff in each of the gaming and business sections, and two teams in the communications section. The exact numbers in each team will vary slightly depending on staff vacancies from time to time. 

The teams are fairly stable in their composition. However, depending on the leads generated by the marketing division, this may change occasionally. For example, two teams in a section may come together to work on a particular assignment as allocated by the section manager. 

The software development teams are like football teams in which achievement is gained by collaborative effort. The knowledge of the teams and the team members is the dynamo that drives Effective Apps and creates its competitive edge. Their internal customer is the marketing department that identifies the general areas for new product development. 

The performance management policies and practices have developed on an informal basis in line with the company’s concern about not dealing with creative staff in a rigid and prescriptive manner. 

The development teams’ performances are measured against the budgets and milestones of the project plans for the development of new products. Each of the software developers have an annual appraisal with their team leaders. The form and content of the appraisal is left to the appraiser to decide. Generally, appraisals are of individual performance, though some team leaders also consider the overall team performance. 

There are no formal procedures or forms. In particular there are no provisions for personal development plans, which is surprising given the importance of the developers’ knowledge and skills. The pressure of work means that appraisals are often postponed. It is also common gossip that some team leaders are ‘softer’ appraisers than others.

The software developers benefit from profit-related bonuses although over the past few years company profits have not been good. 

The turnover rate amongst the software developers is increasing and, given the competition for their relatively scarce skills, they increasingly hard to replace.

1.    Identify the strengths and weakness of this key performance appraisal issues.

2.    What is your recommendations for changes in the performance appraisal arrangements.

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