I am really pleased that you have arrived here as you have shown proactivity in wanting to understand how you can improve your performance assessment rating, unlike others I have seen who meet their objectives and complain that their rating does not match their expectations.
The following post will show you the techniques I used to improve my rating with multiple managers throughout my long corporate career as well as some practical ideas to take away with you.
Throughout my career I have used the following 3 core questions to assess my own performance as well as measure both developers and leaders who have worked in my teams.
- What have you done well in your role (your objectives)?
- What have you done to help your peers in their role?
- What have you done for the team, department or your clients outside your role?
I have no more time to do any extra!
I have heard this objection over and over again and my answer is always the same. The top performers I work with and have had the privilege to lead have proactively found the time to achieve what they want in their career. I am positive you can as well.
However, before I get any complaints from any managers, your role is still the highest priority and your primary focus.
Your managers expectations of you should be outlined in your objectives at the start of the year. It should not stop there though. Your objectives should be a living document, constantly reviewed in your regular one to one meetings with your manager.
If you do not have a regular meetings setup with your manager, then I suggest you set them up as soon as possible. It should be scheduled for 30 minutes and you should prepare for and drive the meeting. It is the perfect opportunity for you to outline the value you are adding in your role, to your peers and the department or clients.
There is a lot of advice laid out about objectives that your HR department can give you, but the 2 rules I have always applied are –
- Your objectives should be achievable in the time outlined. Achievable does still mean you have to work extremely hard to meet them 🙂
- Your objectives should be measurable so you can prove that you have met them in your review, otherwise it will difficult for both you and your manager to assess.
There are many things you can do to help your peers in their role, here are a few I have recommended and performed in the past.
- Can you mentor a junior developer or weaker performer in your team?
- Can you take some of the workload off a peer who is constantly working long hours?
- Can you arrange a training/dojo session for your peers on a technology or process that you are passionate about i.e. TDD?
- Is there a tool or process you could write that would save you peers time in their work?
- Can you reprioritise some of the work your team is doing in order to help with resourcing shortfalls one of your peers has with higher priority work?
- Is there a vacant role in your peers team that you feel one of your top performing team members could fill and grow more within?
Team, department, clients
Your role provides you with great insight into the opportunities you have to help your team, department or clients. Here are some examples I have seen or performed.
Please note that if the work you identify is large, then I recommend you put together a proposal to your manager identifying the work and the value it will add. You can then discuss resourcing, timing and also your desire to lead the work.
- Are there areas of the code that could be refactored to increase the stability, performance and overall customer satisfaction of the software you are working on.
- Are there any process improvements you can identify that would save your team or department time.
- Are there any open source products that could eliminate a lot of code you need to continually support and test?
- Can you identify any test automation that could be done to save the test team time in manual testing?
- Can you identify any deployment automation that could save the dev ops team any time and manual errors?
- Are there any fixes that can be done to save the support team time and increase client satisfaction?
- Are there any tools that you can develop for the department to save them time?
Make your hard work visible
You should make sure the work you do is made visible to your manager in each catch up session. Make sure you present both what you have achieved as well as the value it has added.
At the end of the year you should be able to aggregate all you have done that year and have an impressive value statement for your performance review.
Some examples are
- I trained the team in TDD and we have seen the error rates from the QA department drop by x%
- I helped Joe meet his deadline by staying late all week and helping him
- I identified areas of the code that need refactoring and I got agreement with the team and project team that we will work on it for the next release and reduce the support issues by x%