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Performance Reviews

https://blog.pragmaticengineer.com/performance-reviews-for-software-engineers/

  1. Work Diary
  2. Self review
  3. Hype Doc
    1. https://developer.squareup.com/blog/you-are-your-own-best-hype-person/
    2. I feel like I should just put this hype doc into my portfolio site

3 goals of performance review

  1. fair, unbiased and clear feedback
    1. based on previous expectations (levels and competencies)
  2. motivate
    1. acknowledge good work
    2. next focus
  3. Build trust
    1. honest & 2 way convo

Preparing for a review

Months before

Ideal - outcome of

How many months did the project take?

  • How many engineers?
  • How many modules

Biases in Performance review

  • Generic feedback
    • ask for specific examples and during 1 on 1s: ask for examples when I was doing that thing
  • Recency bias
    • here's a list of things I've done over the period (work log)
  • Strictness bias
    • higher standard for you vs others
    • (Embrace it: my bar for quality isn't where your bar is, I'd like to learn from you, set goals)
    • Here's all the stuff I'm doing/improvements: how am I doing?
  • Devil's horn's bias
    • one bad thing clouds everything else
    • What's the number one thing that I should do to improve the most
  • Central tendency
    • Scale of 1-5: giving everyone a 3
  • Comparison
    • is there any way you can explain it without comparing with others?
    • Which others? So I can learn more from them

How to accept feedback from boss

HealthyGamerGG: How To Reject Negative Feedback From Your Boss - Reminders

Why feedback?

  • so we can improve
  • tell us we're doing something wrong so we can improve, be better at life

Ideal feedback

  1. actionable
    1. not an attribute of a person
  2. measurable or trackable
    1. how and when we're gonna measure

Non-ideal feedback

Reject feedback that's person based

You're not a team player

Why is this bad - person based - not actionable - how do I change who I am? - how do I measure that?

Ego response

[[What is ego]]

Why do we avoid feedback?

  • feedback is great!
    • tell us we're doing something wrong so we can improve, be better at life
    • We fear feedback if it damages our sense of self, ego

Example: some clients are complaining about my attention to detail

  • Boss says I did a bad job for reasons A, B C
  • feel bad and take it personally
  • Instead of realizing those are things I can fix
    • my takeaway is "I'm so terrible at this job, I'm never gonna be good, so many people who are better than me"
    • self fulfilling prophecy of failure
    • not improving at A, B, C
    • can't internalize the constructive feedback
    • "oh my god, I'm gonna screw up, I'm gonna screw up"
    • "it's who I am"
    • "who I am" = unchangeable
      • fixed part of personality, character, identity

What to do in the performance review

  1. Anticipate emotions
    1. what's said in the performance review shouldn't be a surprise
    2. if it is, talk about it during 1 on 1s
    3. see [[performance-reviews#Avoid taking feedback personally]]
  2. Person based feedback (non-ideal): translate it into actions
    1. example: not a team player
      1. "help me understand what that means"
      2. "what can I do to be more of a team player"
      3. "What do team players do that non team players don't do?"
  3. Tell you're boss that you want to work on it
  4. Measurement conversation
    1. how do I know a week from now whether I'm making progress?
    2. how will we measure progress?

Avoid taking feedback personally

  1. What would you tell a friend if they received the same feedback?
  2. How did the feedback make me feel?
    1. we skip ahead and think about changing and fixing
      1. we don't see the impact hearing the feedback has on us
    2. Why is this important?
      1. if how we think is compromised after thinking of the feedback
      2. it'll sabotage our attempts to fix the feedback
        1. getting the same feedback over and over again
    3. eg: feeling bad after failing a test
      1. getting the same feedback of "you have to study your flash cards more"
      2. negative feelings -> low motivation
      3. makes it impossible to study more
      4. after incorporating feelings: a more effective approach might be
        1. self compassion: damn, I really wanted to do well on that test, this sucks
        2. addresses negative feelings -> more motivation -> more thoughtful study strategies
  3. What fears about myself become truer with this feedback?
    1. for me personally
      1. I'm broken, incapable, not gonna be able to pay the bills, I don't have what it takes, I won't be able to produce?
    2. the fear is at the back of your mind, waiting for evidence
      1. afraid of snakes -> a garden hose will look like a snake
      2. we will interpret information to support that fear
  4. What factors outside my control & in my control lead to the feedback
    1. nothing is 100% in your control
    2. we feel responsible for everything
      1. even if we can't fix it -> inefficiency & frustration
  5. What actions do I wish I could take?
    1. the more shame we feel, the more grandiose the actions we want to take
    2. setting ourselves up to fail -> tasks can't be accomplished
  6. What actions am I reasonably capable of taking?
    1. given what I did in the past month, what can I reasonably do in a week
  7. How do I track improvement?
    1. how will the boss know you're working on it?
      1. 1 on 1 updates
  8. What is my contingency plan when things don't work?

    1. Who can I ask for help?
      1. your boss is responsible for the work you do
      2. part of their job to help you
    2. eg: setting a target for myself one week from now
      1. who am I going to ask for help? therapist? doctor to get evaluated for a vitamin deficiency?
      2. spend some time with friends/family?
      3. sign up for a course?
      4. meditate? exercising?
      5. ask co-workers, boss for help?
  9. What can I do to be more of a team player?

How to make common feedback more constructive and measurable? - attention to detail - you get distracted too much - Pushing back on changes - do we need to do things? - Edmentum asking for - Show the career ladder and ask which ones I could improve on - https://formaai.sharepoint.com/:x:/g/EfsZdvrYkOBJhKYULafoY_8Bwu7wl9gnqhhu6z-bJvF0nA?e=DtqrGm

Differentiate between how I feel about the performance review vs the compensation

Performance reviews are about the future

Where do you want to go/be?

"I did A well but not B, so Iā€™m only going to work on improving B, also see how you did A well"


Last update: 2023-03-20