Posted by: kerrywills | December 12, 2014

Annual Review Time


Since it is the end of the year, it is time for those of us who are managers to document the annual reviews with our employees. This is the time when we get to compare an individual’s self assessment of their year to what managers and peers think. Hopefully, the two sides are similar in perception because if there is disparity then that makes for a very interesting conversation since there are usually financial implications (bonuses/raises) tied to the reviews.

What I always tell people is that their rankings on their reviews are really based on three things…
1. How well the person did in their role
2. The impact of what they did on the company/program
3. #1 and #2 as compared to their peers

1I find that most times people only focus on #1 (which is really all they can influence anyway) and this is what sometimes causes problems. Many large companies look for distributions across their population, which is why #2 and #3 are important. I have had scenarios where I have had really good PMs do everything we ask them to do (which, by definition is ‘meeting expectations’) but have peers who were managing programs 2x and 3x the size and therefore the relative impact of work became relevant.

So the few tips that I have around reviews are..

  • Make sure to always manage expectations throughout the year through constant feedback and explanation of the 3 points above (this will make the conversations much easier later in the year)
  • Look for ways of helping your team members to improve their performance and impact to the organization
  • Keep a running log of examples and feedback – I have a Word document which tracks these things which makes writing reviews much easier than trying to remember it all
  • Focus on facts and examples so the review is not viewed as personal so much as a balanced and fair aggregation of examples and feedback from others

Do people have any other thoughts or tips?

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