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Maybe we might consider a tag for Julia Evans posts? ;)

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      -performance because she isn’t benchmarking code, but people!

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        You’re right. Thank you!

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      I think her other fans and I quickly notice the jvns.ca at the right. ;)

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      Ugh. I hate performance reviews, whether writing or receiving. There is literally no upside. You’re giving HR words that may be used against someone– or against you.

      Feedback should be verbal and direct. You should be able to get a sense of who can handle tough feedback and who might respond better to gentler language. There’s no formula for it.

      As for written feedback and the futility thereof, management knows (or should know) who the high performers are and will reward and promote them. If they get it wrong, there’s nothing you can do as a grunt to change their minds. The only thing that comes from putting stuff in writing and handing it over to management is risk.

      Of course, if you’re a manager, you have to use performance reviews to protect your people so they can focus on their work rather than politics. It’s part of your job. You can’t not write reviews because you don’t like doing it. But reviewing peers is, in my view, inadvisable. If you have something to say, deliver it privately.

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        this is an interesting comment! At my job “just don’t write peer reviews” isn’t really something I can do, which is why I wrote this post – this is a small but mandatory part of my job, so how do I handle it when it comes up?

        The only thing that comes from putting stuff in writing and handing it over to management is risk.

        Part of the reason I wrote this post is that I feel like putting negative feedback in writing where I have no idea who will see it is a bit risky! But I feel like writing down positive feedback is a lot less risky, and so my hope is that if I mostly stick to that then the outcomes will be okay, and maybe I’ll even say something useful by accident.

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          I’m late to come around to this; I’ve been in Mexico for the past week.

          I agree. Ratting someone out to management is bad form and a way to make a permanent enemy, but putting positive feedback (or even having a conversation with the person about what you should be saying) is not a bad idea. What this ought to be, instead of a way for workers to slag each other (to executives’ benefit), is a way for them to help each other out and build up each other’s stories. If used properly, these tools can be used for good (i.e., in workers’ favor instead of executives’).