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As an extension of my last question: Did I overstep my bounds by creating a tool “behind my manager's back”, during non-work hours?

TL;DR of that question: I created a software tool during my personal free time (non-company hours) which was meant to make my team's job much easier. The tool itself was a huge success, and I got praised for it from my manager. However, at the same time, my manager was a bit disappointed because I had done the work "behind his back", and he was not able to actually manage my work ahead of time.


It's nearly the end of the year, and that means it's time for performance reviews. At my company, employees are asked to fill out a self-evaluation, which is then reviewed in a one-on-one meeting with the manager to see if there's any discrepancies in perceived performance. One of the questions in the self-evaluation asks for some of the accomplishments for the year.

Now, I'm very proud of the tool I created, and the team has been using it extensively since I provided it to my manager. According to team metrics, it's reduced the number of "human error" mistakes (typos, unfiltered deletions, etc.) by ~95% and reduced the response time delay by ~33%. Overall the tool has been a fantastic success. However, as I explained in the linked question, my manager was not happy with me when I first revealed this side project because it undermined his authority. (I don't believe he holds any grudges about it, because he understands I was truly trying to help the team, not usurp his power.)

I now understand the error of my ways, and I certainly will not be making the same mistake again. However, I do want to make note of the application's success and take credit for work. Is there a way I can do this without negatively impacting my performance evaluation? Should I even risk it?

  • @DarkCygnus My other question is kind of long, and I don't necessarily want to require people to read my novella to answer this question :) Hopefully the TL;DR provides enough detail for a summary at least. – Mage Xy Nov 15 '17 at 18:27
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    Not enough for an answer, but you don't always need to mention only positive things during a performance review. Highlighting negative things and how and what you learned from them is also very powerful! – Cronax Nov 16 '17 at 17:11
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Is there a way I can do this without negatively impacting my performance evaluation? Should I even risk it?

I see no problem with you mentioning this tool you created as something positive, as it clearly was really beneficial to your job and coworkers.

As you describe it, seems that you are going to include it in some sort of "list" of the accomplishments you've made this year, so try including that among others you may consider.

How I see it is that it was an achievement in two ways. Not only were you able to benefit your team with this, but you also learned that you now have to be more transparent with your boss. You are now wiser when it comes to you professional environment and the way you should act in your company.

That is the reason why it is a valid thing to include, it enabled you to improve your knowledge on the ways of your company, making you closer to their "ideal" worker. If they further ask about your choice, mentioning both aspects and their improvements could be a good way to justify why you included such thing as achievement.

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You should include the creation of your tool in an Accomplishments section.

You should include your lack of transparency in an Areas for Improvement section.


You did something of great value to your team and the company. You should get credit for that.

You didn't follow proper process and undermined your manager's ability to do his job. You should take responsibility for that.

The combination of the two should lead to a more positive review than leaving off both, and certainly than leaving off just one of the two.

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    +1 This shows no only technical but also personal growth! – Daniel Nov 16 '17 at 13:27

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