Promoted to team lead, putting one of my teammates on PIP, help!

Post date: 2022-01-26 18:00:30
Views: 20
I'm a software developer who just got promoted to team lead of my small team (my first real lead position). One of our developers is not performing as well as we need. What (non-suck) metrics can I use to try and get the performance I need? How can I minimize negative karma when this hasn't been managed ideally up until now?

1) The main problem is that they are a net negative in productivity on the team. They seem nice and they seem to be trying but when I started working with this developer 9 months ago they were already at the point that the team was actively avoiding giving them any critical or difficult tasks. Even with the simplest task and least amount of time pressure, stuff is either not done, badly done, or done only because other teammates essentially did the work--taking more time to try and explain it and coach this developer through doing it, vs. just doing it.

The problem with this is that I have no idea how to quantify this. None this developer's behavior is strictly bad, it's simply the extent of it and net effect. I don't know how to quantitatively differentiate between this developer (net negative) and a developer who doesn't produce much individual code but is everyone else's go-to for help and is a positive multiplier on the team.

Ideas for metrics that can help here?

2) This problem has obviously been ongoing for a long time and everyone knows about it (even people external to the team have commented), but I don't think anyone has spoken directly to this developer about it before now (including me, even though I have been on the same team for months as a peer).

I think they themselves know that they aren't as productive as the rest of the team, they do seem to visibly be trying (just--ineffectively), but given a year+ of multiple team leads simply accepting this and shuffling work so that others could do it, actually being put on a PIP may be a bit of a shock.

Also, I'm not sure if this is going to be more of a "paid interviewing plan" because I'm not sure if the developer can achieve the performance needed under any circumstances. I don't want to give them false hope, but a PIP is probably better than the other option available, which is essentially "don't let the door hit you".

And there's a pandemic.

How can I allow for the option of real hope, if it exists, while minimizing false hope? If there's no hope, I'd at least like them to understand that and take the opportunity to go interviewing.

Options for minimizing feelings of betrayal?

(I do have other, more experienced people who are going to help me with all of this, I'm not entirely going it alone, but I want some neutral advice as well.)
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