Performance Management

Its compensation season in many companies. Performance evaluations are either complete or in process, managers are deciding who will get more and who will get less. It can be a sore point for some employees, especially if their evaluation comes as a surprise. Its worse, when the employee does not have a way to fix it, or cannot understand what is required. Which gets to the basis of performance management – how does the manager add value to the performance of their staff?

dilbert - evaluation

Performance Management is Not…

…just filling out the review document and deciding who to reward and who not to reward. That is the least important part, and often the only part that a manager gets graded on. I have friends who work as managers for companies where performance management is boiled down to simply discriminating numerically between high performing and low performing staff members on their annual evaluation.Continue Reading

What Did The Boss Say?

Last year, two goofballs from Norway released a song they thought would be funny, called “What does the fox say?” that turned into a viral hit. The concept for the song is that we know all the sounds the animals make, but not the fox.

Today, I want to talk about things our bosses say. Especially when things are not going well.

How did this happen? Who is responsible? Questions of disappointment.Continue Reading

Fixed Feature Bids

I have worked with a lot of teams made up primarily of contract developers. Not teams from consulting firms, but teams of “assorted” contractors from assorted staff augmentation firms.


Folks that have been doing “short term” staff aug work for a while – (by my definition not longer than a year) – have an hourly mindset. That is, they get paid by the hour. They know that they are the last to show and the first to go – meaning they are only hired when needed, and are rolled off as soon as the work is done. They sometimes have slack periods between gigs, and are almost always willing to bill overtime while they are engaged.Continue Reading

Project Pork Prevention

Why is it that the customer in corporate software projects seems to want to pack the scope of every project with capabilities of dubious value, in the same way that our congressional leaders try to pack important bills with “pork”? Why do organizational leaders try to take a well funded project or initiative and use it as a means of funding their personal management agenda? Because like congress, if they can construe their agenda as essential to the completion of some important project – they bring the business value (pork) home to their department. They can use the project as a vehicle to accomplish things that ensure that they get their bonus. These leaders act as though their incentives are more important than the overall health of the corporation – just like congressmen act as if their re-election is more important than the overall health of the nation.Continue Reading