The Gold Standard in Agile Performance Management

An Agile Performance Management (APM) system provides an organisation with the wireframe to prosper in a marketplace riddled with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. 

Go beyond the traditional Bell-Curve! Get more performance from your people. Learn how Agile Performance Management can help you bridge the gap between strategy and execution.

Agile Performance Management System

Agile Performance Management (APM)

Traditional performance management systems are often criticized for being too rigid, time-consuming, and focused on past performance rather than future potential. They may not work effectively due to myriad reasons like infrequent feedback, focus on past performance, one-size-fits-all approach, lack of alignment with organizational goals and focus on evaluation rather than development.

Moreover, traditional performance management systems may not be effective in today’s fast-paced, rapidly changing business environment. Agile performance management systems, which emphasize ongoing feedback, collaboration, and adaptability, may be better suited to support the needs of today’s organizations and their employees.

Features of Agile Performance Management

Agile Performance Management is an approach that is characterized by its focus on frequent feedback, collaboration, and adaptability. It involves setting goals, measuring progress, and providing feedback on an ongoing basis, rather than just once or twice a year.

An APM system recognizes that traditional performance management systems often create more problems than they solve. Annual performance reviews can be stressful for both employees and managers, and they may not provide enough information for employees to improve their performance.

Clear Northstar

Goal setting using OKRs with common goals aligned to company purpose & strategy.

Shorter Performance Cycles

Supported by regular check-ins, coaching & feedforward conversations, and celebrations.

Multi-Directional Alignment

Departure from cascading goals towards top-down, bottom-up and cross alignment.

Digi-Tech Enabled

Digitisation of PMS with real-time analytics on performance metrics & outcomes.

Robust Learning Cycles

Continuous & contextual people development that is contextual to business needs.

Departure from Bell Curves

Better alternatives to forced ranking and differentiation in performance.

Principles of Agile Performance Management

APM systems are designed to be flexible, iterative, and responsive to change, and they are built on a set of principles that guide their implementation. Some of the key principles of agile performance management systems include:


Clear, measurable goals that are aligned with the organization's strategy and mission.

Flexibility & Adaptability

Evaluating performance at regular intervals rather than once or twice in a year.

Collaborative Goal-Setting

Pivot goals and priorities using OKRs using a social process of collaboration.

Feedforward Mindset

Regular proactive conversations that enable success for teams and employees.

Psychological Safety

Culture of inclusion encouraging experimentation & fail-fast mindsets.

Differential Rewards

Based on their individual performance, skills, experience, and contribution to the organization.
Benefits of Agile Performance Management

Agile performance management is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every organization is unique, and what works for one company may not work for another. Similarly, no two organisations may derive the same benefits from implementing an agile performance management system.

Benefits to CEOs
Benefits to CHROs
Benefits to Managers
Benefits to Team Members
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Agile Performance Management

Agile performance management is a modern approach to managing employee performance in a more flexible and collaborative way. It involves setting shorter-term goals, providing regular feedback, and incorporating continuous learning and development.

It differs from traditional performance management in several ways. It is more focused on ongoing learning and development, rather than just annual reviews. It also emphasizes frequent communication and feedback, rather than a one-time evaluation. Additionally, it is more flexible and adaptable, allowing for goals to be adjusted and refined over time.

It provides several benefits, such as increased employee engagement and productivity, more frequent feedback and communication, and a focus on continuous improvement and development.

Some key components include frequent check-ins and feedback sessions, flexible goal setting, ongoing learning and development opportunities, and collaboration between managers and employees.

Yes, it’s possible to combine OKRs with Agile Performance Management. More and more organisations are looking at doing this. However, there are some areas to watch out for, as it can be a tricky exercise. Read more on how to combine OKRs with Agile PMS.

To successfully implement agile performance management, organizations may need to take a number of steps. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Get buy-in from leadership: To successfully implement agile performance management, it’s important to get buy-in from leadership. They should understand the benefits of an agile approach and be willing to make the necessary changes to culture and processes.
  2. Train managers: Managers play a critical role. They should be trained in effective feedback, coaching, and goal-setting. They should also understand how to provide regular support and development opportunities to their team members.
  3. Set expectations: Employees should understand what to expect from an agile PMS. They should know how often they will meet with their managers, how feedback will be provided, and how performance will be measured.
  4. Use technology: There are many tools and platforms available that can support agile performance management. For example, there are software applications that allow for real-time feedback and goal-tracking.
  5. Monitor and adjust: This is an iterative process. It’s important to regularly monitor progress and make adjustments as needed. This may involve tweaking goals or development plans, or changing the frequency or format of check-ins.

One potential challenge that organizations may face during implementation is resistance to change. Some managers and employees may be used to the traditional performance review process and may be hesitant to adopt a new approach. To address this challenge, it may be helpful to communicate the benefits of an agile approach and involve employees in the process. By soliciting feedback and ideas from employees, organizations can help create buy-in and support for the new system.

Another challenge that may arise is the need for more frequent communication and coordination between managers and employees. Regular check-ins and feedback require time and effort, and some managers may struggle to balance this with their other responsibilities. To address this challenge, organizations may need to provide additional training or support to managers to help them manage their time and priorities effectively.

Finally, organizations may struggle to create a culture of continuous improvement and development. While agile performance management can support this type of culture, it requires a shift in mindset and approach. To overcome this challenge, organizations may need to model the behavior they want to see and provide support and resources for employees to grow and develop.

To overcome these challenges, organizations can provide training and support to managers and employees to help them adapt to the new approach. They can also provide clear guidance and expectations around goal setting and feedback, and regularly evaluate and adjust their processes to ensure they are working effectively.

An Agile PMS aligns with agile methodologies such as Scrum and Kanban by incorporating the same principles of continuous learning, collaboration, and iterative improvement. It emphasizes frequent communication and feedback, encourages employees to take ownership of their work and goals, and provides a framework for ongoing learning and development.

It can align with other HR practices by incorporating them into the overall approach. For example, compensation and benefits can be tied to individual and team performance goals, and ongoing learning and development opportunities can be incorporated into career development plans.

It can support remote or distributed teams by providing more frequent communication and feedback, as well as flexible goal setting and ongoing learning opportunities that can be accessed remotely. It can also help to build a sense of collaboration and teamwork among team members who may be working in different locations.

Technology and tools can play a significant, supportive role. They can facilitate more frequent communication and feedback, provide a platform for tracking and managing goals, and offer opportunities for ongoing learning and development.

Agile performance management can have a positive impact on employee engagement and retention by providing employees with more frequent feedback and opportunities for growth and development. It can also help to build a culture of collaboration and transparency, which can improve employee satisfaction and loyalty.

It can be applied to a wide range of organizations, although the specific implementation may vary depending on the organization’s size, structure, and culture. However, organizations that are highly hierarchical or have a more traditional approach to management may find it more challenging to adopt an agile approach.

Some potential drawbacks include the need for more frequent communication and feedback, which can be time-consuming, and the potential for goals to become too flexible and ambiguous, leading to a lack of clarity and direction.

Organizations can evaluate the effectiveness of their approach by collecting feedback from employees and managers, tracking performance metrics such as employee engagement and productivity, and regularly reviewing and adjusting their processes to ensure they are meeting their goals.

It can support DEI in the workplace by providing opportunities for more frequent communication and feedback, which can help to address unconscious biases and ensure that all employees are receiving fair and equitable treatment. It can also help to identify and address areas for improvement in terms of diversity and inclusion.

Managers play a critical role as they are responsible for setting goals, providing feedback, and supporting employee growth and development. They also play a role in building a culture of collaboration and transparency, which can support the success of agile performance management.

Employees can participate by setting their own goals, providing feedback to their managers and peers, and seeking out learning and development opportunities. They can also contribute to building a culture of collaboration and transparency by sharing their own perspectives and ideas.

It can help to support organizational agility and innovation by providing a framework for continuous learning and development, promoting collaboration and transparency, and encouraging employees to take risks and try new approaches. It can also help to identify and address areas for improvement more quickly, which can support organizational agility.

As organizations grow, they can scale by establishing clear processes and guidelines, providing training and support to managers and employees, and leveraging technology and tools to facilitate communication and goal tracking. They can also regularly evaluate and adjust their processes to ensure they are working effectively.

To get started with implementation, organizations can start by rethinking their performance management processes and identifying areas for improvement. They can then establish clear goals and expectations, provide training and support to managers and employees, and incorporate ongoing learning and development opportunities. They can also leverage technology and tools to facilitate communication and goal tracking.

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