July 13

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Reviews in a development team

Team member reviews. What is the point? Who do they really benefit?

How many times as an employee over the years, have you had to endure the process of the annual review?

First there is the self-assessment, then the "360 degree feedback" and finally you'll work together with your boss to set some goals.

Yes, the 3 steps above are all great things to do. But in technology, things move so fast that what seems like a great, attainable goal now is no longer relevant in 3 or 6 months time.

And feedback from your manager every year? Really? With Agile / Scrum teams having members redistributed regularly between projects, even during projects, combined with the sheer volume of "stuff" you get to do in a year, annual feedback sessions seem like a waste of time.

So what is better? Is there even a better way?

The review / feedback / goal setting dance needs to change but there is one thing that you get to do no matter how the rest occurs at your company. You need to be sitting down with your manager or Scrum Master one-on-one at least once a month.

This applies to all the team members, including the product owner, scrum master, and product manager. But why so often? Just as a project, platform or technology can change a lot in 1 month, so can your goals, and the goals & direction of your company. It's important to keep on top of this. And if you telecommute to work, then this should happen even more often.

So, what about the review sessions themselves? Your monthly catch ups provide an opportunity to keep on top of what's agreed in a review, but the review itself still gets to happen outside of these get togethers. And they get to happen much more often than annually. Biannually or even quarterly is far more useful.

How do these review meetings go? You've already covered much of a traditional review with the monthly one-on-one meetings. That's where "the sticky note game" comes in. Have a read over here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/all-takes-3-people-sharpies-ton-stickies-jumpstart-your-rickmeier/.‚Äč

You literally have 3 people - the manager, the reviewee and a close workmate of the reviewee, sharpies and 2 different colored sticky notes. No software, no ceremony, no stress. All participants are there to do their best of the reviewee, not directly for the company.

I know people have strong opinions of reviews and goal setting, so I'd really like to know what you think, so sound off in the comments.


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