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I work in a software company. We have 2 performance cycles annually where we are supposed to provide feedback for all our peers.

However, I struggle to find drawbacks/improvement-areas for my peers. I have tried hard enough. I tried to remember hard about the work I did with them and tried to find any instances where I think they need to improve. But couldn't come up with anything.

Recently, after the performance review cycle finished, my manager told me that the feedback that I wrote for my peers is not detailed enough and is not helping him evaluate them. He added that this behaviour will be detrimental for me in the longer run in my career.

My main question is: How do I get better at providing performance feedback for my peers?

Am I not a good software developer myself because I am not able to find the short-comings in other people's work? Or is it because I always tend to look for positive things in people? Is this a management trick by my manager for fishing for negative points?

Few other peers of mine have also mentioned about similar problems in casual conversations.

Note 1: I've tried to find for similar questions here, however, none of them focus on giving better feedback for peers in general. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

  • "Is this a management trick by my manager for fishing for negative points?" Sounds exactly like what it is. Your company has lazy management. – sf02 May 29 at 16:33
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My main question is: How do I get better at providing performance feedback for my peers?

Take regular notes. Whenever a co-worker does something that you think was cool, good, or nice, write quick note to yourself. Whenever a co-worker does something that wasn't good, annoys you, or struck you as being inefficient, write a quick note to yourself. If you notice NEVER anything like this, you maybe should pay attention a little more.

Am I not a good software developer myself because I am not able to find the short-comings in other people's work?

You misunderstand the purpose of feedback. Ideally it's not " looking short comings" but to give an objective view of the strengths in weaknesses of a person. Everybody has those. The more you are aware of these the better you can grow and improve. Pretending that everyone is perfect is comfortable but it doesn't help anyone.

And yes, being able to give objective & constructive feedback makes you a much more valuable employee and team member. There is more to being a good developer, than just writing code.

  • +1 This is very close to how I would have answered. I agree with "If you NEVER notice anything like this, you maybe should pay attention a little more." – MacItaly May 29 at 17:47

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