I had a performance review, which I would describe it as 'bad', to say the least. I am planning, nonetheless, to stay positive, and focus on rectifying the situation, and turn the review around if possible.

I am a software developer. There were few goals set for me 6 months ago (e.g., products quality, less bugs, coding standards, ... etc.). Unfortunately, I was given less than average in all of them. But most importantly, I was told, that those do not matter. What matter are the other issues that are not written in the formal performance goals, the elephants in the room. And if I solve these issues, the formal goals will be met inherently.

The problem is, these informal issues are kind of vague to me (e.g. lack of collaboration, taking ownership of others' problems, ...etc.). But the most puzzling one to me is the slow output. I was told my output is slow in the past. Although I tried to improve my productivity level, it seems it did not help. The real problem is I am at a loss as how to measure my output, be it slow or not? I know this might sound silly, but I am the fastest typist in the office. Oftentimes, I impressed my boss with my skills of using the IDE. I have never missed a formal deadline. However, there are these tasks that are given to me informally without given any formal deadlines. These kind of small projects/tasks usually delay me. I asked during the review, how to measure my output. But I got a vague answer. Something like "You were supposed to finish x project in 2 weeks, but it took 2 months" - which was not true. The said project took 3 weeks because other projects were added to my workload without changing the timeline.

Now, I do not want to argue, and sound negative. It is very important to me, to know where I am standing now, so I can improve myself. Also, it is important that my manager can track my progress. Hence, my question, in what way, if there is any, can I measure my output, and share that with my manager.

  • 4
    Ask your manager. – Lilienthal Aug 17 '16 at 13:34
  • 4
    @easymoden00b Hopefully you're joking... – RJFalconer Aug 17 '16 at 13:42
  • 4
    @easymoden00b and LOC/day is quite possibly the worst method of doing that. Unless your job function is to literally produce newline characters. – alroc Aug 17 '16 at 13:55
  • 2
    @Hawk you have to ask your manager directly how he is measuring your output and what his expectation is. Attempting a direct comparison of output between two people is pointless, and you don't say that your manager ever attempted to do so. From what you wrote, he only told you that he expected faster output - not that he expects you to match a specific person – alroc Aug 17 '16 at 14:04
  • 2
    @easymoden00b "deliverables completed. on schedule" is as close to an objective measure as you're going to get and it's a lot better than an arbitrary LoC/day. – alroc Aug 17 '16 at 15:00

About the bad eval, discuss with your boss how he wants to measure your progress. Showing a good attitude towards improving is half the battle.

But first you have to fix the perception that you are slow because deadlines are not met. You need to insist that deadlines are changed when new work is added whether is it is new requirement to the project or other new higher priority work.

You need a project plan that is public and you need to formally move the deadline every single time, some other project inserts itself into your life. You need to make sure that the boss knows the deadline had been moved and that the project stakeholders know the deadline has been moved and why. You need to show the time you are working on the project and compare it to the initial estimate. If the project is over the initial estimate, you need to show what additional functionality they had and how many hours that took. This requires record keeping.

Every time someone adds something to your list to do, ask you boss the priority of it compared to other things you are working on. Never switch tasks unless your boss tells you specifically that it is a higher priority and he approves the change of the deadline on the previous task. It is your job to let him know that the other work is affected, it is his job to set priorities.

Likely it is your lack of communication about the deadline is the problem. Stakeholders are very aware of what the deadline is and are very annoyed when it is not met if they don't know up front it has been superseded by something of higher priority. They have no idea that you were working on something else unless you tell them.

  • 2
    Perhaps also keep a log of when tasks are assigned and when priorities are changed? – Dan Pichelman Aug 17 '16 at 13:48