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I work on a small software team (3 people) at a medium sized company where software is not the primary focus. We are interested in being a more rigorous about evaluating our performance, and setting in place a structure for performance reviews before we grow our team.

How do you do performance reviews? What do you like, or not like about your current system? Are there other resources you would point me to to help develop a system?

I know this is a non-technical post, but I feel like this community will have interesting and useful thoughts on this topic. Thanks in advance for any feedback.


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    We are interested in being a more rigorous about evaluating our performance

    What do you hope/want to change? Evaluation is only useful if some action is taken as a result. Most (all?) performance review processes are useless because it’s mostly the system (the context) that drives performance.

    3 people

    Since you’re really small, and even if you triple in size, you’ll still be really small, I’d suggest a regular retrospective as a team. Take an hour or three every week (or two, at most) and talk about how things are going. Has anything been annoying that should be done differently? Did someone do something in a way that others could learn from?

    Ultimately your question is a bit backwards: first start with why you want to be more rigorous about performance evaluation, and then you might find that making it more rigorous is not at all the right solution, i.e., start with the problem then figure out three or four possible solutions.

    (Please, I beg of you, do not replicate the horror that is perf reviews.)

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      Thanks for the response! I think doing retrospectives is a good idea. Right now we just do them ad hoc, but I think having a regular cadence would be good.

      I think there are a number of problems that we were thinking performance reviews would solve, but they are certainly solvable via other means. For example, having a clear direction for our team that can be regularly updated with the CEO as things shift. I will have to spend some more time getting to the root problems.

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        I think one of the problems is that we don’t have objective measurements of our success so far. This is probably one of the first problems to address.