Performance evaluations that do not suck

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how to Performance Evaluation


  • *context: people ending up in management positions, figuring out how to manage*
  • For feedback of changes write to


  • how to become more intentional about performance evaluation
  • how about incorporating elements of teaching into PEs - educator backgrounds, bringing in teaching sensibilities
  • what are specific challenges of a non-hierarchical org: hidden hierarchies, soft power dynamics etc
  • how to get people involved in PEs? creating momentum and interest
  • how to use PEs to surface under-utilized skills?
  • what are good PE models?
  • who defines your goals?
  • How do you reset expectations and balance personal crises?
  • what should not be in a PE?


  • core goal: **no surprises in PE**
  • important to make time - PE is never prioritized
  • creating and holding space for abilities and disabilities
    • due to stigma, or lack of knowledge, people don't seek diagnosis
  • explicitly expressing power dynamics is crucial. they are always present in PEs: they present risk of self-censorship, and carry implicit biases
  • importance of transparency in process — for example, turnover without clarity damages org culture
  • super important to set up expectations - baselining is key
  • baselining evaluations:
    • “What am I supposed to be achieving? How is success defined in my role?”
  • how to communicate expectations well - to ensure understanding is aligned
  • from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs
  • staggered evaluations, to avoid burnout
  • personnel committee?
    • board members, in charge of approving and reviewing evaluations and raises
  • the importance of framing performance conversations in a positive manner: designing conversations aimed to help people succeed, instead of focusing on the negatives


  • comparing self evaluations with evals of others, reflection and growth plan
  • Board-led evaluation committees
  • 360 evaluations
    • two-people staggered process
    • evaluations, self evaluations
    • diff people are asked to respond to diff things: surfaces contextual knowledge
    • person and their work buddy work on the plan together
    • however, no incentives and no consequences: no raises, no promotions, no demotions, no firing
    • once standards for project management were defined, no one cared about them anymore
    • super regular, 20-30 long meetings
    • creates a culture of mutual expectations
  1. Resources