Monday, July 21, 2008

Reviews should never be a surprise

Over the past few weeks I have been dealing with a yellow project of mine. The project is yellow because of the customers perceptions on the design, code quality, and general attention to detail demonstrated by the team over the 3 month project.

Now I had sought out feedback on how the team was doing several times throughout the project, but never received an answer. During the project debrief, the poor performance was brought to my attention. Unfortunately, at this point there was nothing I could do about the current project, and could only try to improve on the next project.

Like praise and recognition, being told you are not meeting expectations is very important. If you are not told otherwise, you may very well be thinking you are doing a great job.

I understand that sitting down with an under-performing team is hard, often the leader will be comfortable. It is hard to do this. However it is absolutely imperative that this be done.

If we don't take action on this right away then many bad things can happen:
  • resentment builds within the rest of the team
  • the leader starts to resent the under-performing team or individual
  • features have to get dropped due to time constraints
  • quality suffers
  • etc
The top two are real team killers.

A meeting discussing the expectation gaps, and a plan to address these gaps will go along way to improving the under-performing team or individual. If they don't improve, then you have at least started the process that is required to remove them.

At the end of the day, it is a leader's responsibility to make sure all their team members always know how they are doing, whether it is good or bad. It's our job.

No comments: