Achieve performance reviews as a project manager

One thing you learn during your project manager training is that the role is incredibly varied. The workload will vary significantly from one project to another.

Not only that, it will also vary by industry.

However, there are some constants – those tasks you are expected to deliver regardless of the rest of the project details.

One of these tasks is that as a project manager you are expected to conduct performance reviews or, as it is also called, assessments. You may need to provide these to all members of the team.

Unfortunately, not everyone is open to a performance appraisal. Many of your team may see them as an unnecessary waste of time taking them away from their work on the project.

However, they are really an incredible part of the work/team process. You may also experience some resistance to review because some team members are simply less receptive to feedback than others, especially if there have been problems.

If you have only recently completed your project management qualifications, chances are that although you have had your own assessment, you have not yet performed one as a project manager.

Whether this is the case, or you want to improve your performance assessment techniques, here’s our guide to help you complete the process.

Start with the basics

When it comes to motivating and managing a project team, the task can be difficult. It can be very tempting to just get on with the work on the project – checking that everything is going as it should and keeping the lines of communication open with both your stakeholders and the members of your team, while leaving things like notes for assessments to the latter minute.

This isn’t a great idea. It’s not the best way to give or even accept feedback, and if you put off taking notes until the last minute, chances are you’ll forget to include something you really wanted to mention.

Creating appraisal notes is basically an ongoing task that needs to be done throughout the year.

Creating an automated record of your notes for each member of the team from the very beginning of the project means you have somewhere quick and easy to take notes on anything you think is appropriate for the review.

This allows you to have a full set of very comprehensive notes in front of you when you sit down with each team member.

The things you want to include include:

  • Things that have gone particularly well
  • Things Worth Praising
  • Things that could have been better
  • Moments when the team member in question has taken a different approach to the problem
  • Times when a lot more work could have been done

When should you conduct your assessments?

As part of your job, it’s not enough just to keep the notes you need for the assessments. You also need to determine the best time to conduct your assessments.

There are a number of different factors to consider in this matter.

The first is that many companies have a preferential process when it comes to their performance reviews. This is often scheduled to coincide with the time of year they will review their budget reviews.

Performance rating data is often used to decide which employees have done the best in the past year and therefore deserve a raise, in addition to any inflation hikes an employer is looking at.

In some companies, it can also be used to determine annual bonus payments. The employees who have outperformed during the year can get a better bonus than those who may not have really put in their best effort.

Check whether such a policy exists within the company and if so, then of course you have a timetable for conducting your performance reviews

However, if there’s no specific policy that dictates when reviews take place, just that they run at a specific time of the year, you can use this flexibility to decide when it’s most convenient for you.

If you’re flexible about when your performance reviews should take place, there are a few times to avoid. These times are every working season with a particularly high volume and possible bottlenecks

These are times when adding performance reviews to both your own schedule and that of your team members can add unnecessary workload.

The process involved in conducting a performance review can be both demanding and intensive, and will require detailed preparation in advance to aid in the entire process, all of which is in addition to a time when you could have had more work. a detrimental effect on the motivation of your team.

Other things to consider

Once you’ve got your notes and set the times and dates for your performance appraisals, there are a few more things to keep in mind as you go through the entire process.

  • Allow plenty of time between reviews – even the best-laid plans, as any project manager should know, can overflow, so provide a buffer between reviews to accommodate this.
  • Keep things factual
  • Keep things professional – sometimes some things you need to say are hard for your team members to hear, remember to keep your demeanor professional if they react badly
  • Please allow time for the assessee to ask any questions during the assessment, there may be something they are concerned about and want to know how to improve in the future

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