To all who had to experience ‘Performance Reviews’

In my career as a software developer (such as it is) I have worked in a couple of large IT consulting companies. Of all the drivel that I have put up with in those companies – ‘Performance Reviews’ and the energy expended on them was the one that caused most frustration. As usual Scott Adams expresses my feelings about this with so much more aplomb than I ever could…


Feel free to agree or disagree with me – leave me reply…

4 comments on “To all who had to experience ‘Performance Reviews’

  1. I have never had a review in the IT field. I had a few when I was making circuit boards and they were usually designed to make you feel like you achieved some small level of success but you never excelled. Perhaps it was just me that never excelled. Either way, dont like em. No sir!

  2. The company I’m currently with does yearly reviews. It was a little weird at first, but I’m always harder on myself than the person reviewing me (call me a perfectionist, I guess). So my reviews have always went better than I expected.

    After the first year, I was put into a management position myself, so I got to see the other side of things. Writing up the review is always a pain, but I think they’re worthwhile. Granted, a manager should be constantly giving feedback to their employees, telling them when they’ve done a good job or when something needs improvement. But I think of it like Spring cleaning — I find it helpful to have a formal time scheduled for that sort of feedback. A time to say, “You’ve really improved here,” or, “I’ve seen this starting to happen, and I’d like to correct it before it becomes a problem.”

    I also use reviews to get feedback the other way from employees — to see if there’s anything that I or the company can do to help them with their job. Based on this feedback, we’ve done some fairly major reorganizing of responsibilites in the team I manage, which has made everyone happier with their job.

    So I think that performance reviews can be a good thing, if handled well.

  3. The thing that really irked me about the reviews that I had were –
    They required one to set standards for yourself without giving you any frame of reference. This meant that if you were sincere and set yourself high standards you were screwing yourself over compared to others in the group when you simply met your goals. Oh, and if you went ahead and set yourself low goals you manager would use that as an excuse to screw you over.
    The other wild thing was the ‘360 degree’ performance review where you supposedly could review how you manager did :-) The catch was that the manager got to chose who reviews them. This meant that they could influence reviews to only the employees they were promoting.
    Ultimately – my experience of the ‘performance review’ was that it was less about performance and more about finding ways to pay as less as possible while keeping employees happy.
    Unfortunately that works for awhile but people are intelligent and they catch on – I believe this one of the reasons for the culture of jumping jobs that corporate IT bigwigs like to moan about.

  4. Performance reviews. I have only had two in my 11 years of working. My first was in 1999 and my manager wasn’t too kind to me. I told my director and he laughed because I had pushed for the review in the first place. He said, “only people who need to be concerned about their job get a review. If you don’t get a review it means you are doing excellent work.”

    If you are harsh on yourself when doing your own review your own works will get worked into your real review. Most managers usually just take your own words and rearrange them. I have even heard some managers talk about this at manager meetings about how employees are much harder on themselves than any manager would be.

    A few months ago I had my only second review in my career if you can believe that. Until last year I have been a contractor for many years and most startups don’t have time for reviews. But as a contractor I have actually written 2 or 3 reviews for full time employees per the request of various managers! Isn’t that lame?

    I pretty much ignore reviews at this point unless there is something terribly wrong with it.

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