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Reviewing your co-workers

From time to time, my boss asks us to review our co-works. You know: hows is their programming skill? what do you think about them professionally? What are good things? Areas of improvement? etc. Each person's comments are given (without the authors name) to everyone.

You know, plain old peer reviews.

I usually end up rambling on about this and that as I've had no time to collect my thoughts. I get a few interesting and earnest things out from time to time. Personally, I consider people either"good" or "bad," and there's not much beyond an gut feel for why. Not being able to explain those two states is obviously bad, both for my personal benefit and for the group.

So, for the coders, what are things you say about your co-workers; how do you phrase thoughts like, 'so-and-so sucks'; how do you answer these types when you think the team, or the company, as awhole is doing poorly without insulting your manager?

And, for the managers/team leads/etc., what are the types of things you're expecting; what are things you're not looking for; what are interesting/insightful things people have said?

Rufus Stitch
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Always say good things about your co-workers. Word always gets back, and peer reviews are just a game anyway.

Vinnie the Snitch
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I'm with Vinnie: be careful what you say about people on your way up: you may need them on the way down...

bah humbug
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Good advice.  Flame your boss though, and his bosses' boss.  Show everyone who's the stallion.

hoser
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

So Rufus, this has been going on a while?  Please, we are eager to hear how people take it, the quality of it, whether people are truthful or bitchy or political etc??

For what it is worth, I recently had an opportunity to work with a complete waste of space.  He was a contractor hired in at a silly rate because he knew this difficult technical subject.  Only he really didn't.  After a few weeks of him actually slowing me down rather than helping me, I went to my manager and was quite frank.  They assured me they listened to me and would make adjustments.  Six months later, I have left for greener pastures but he is still there..

i like i
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

> Personally, I consider people either"good" or "bad," and there's not much beyond an gut feel for why.

I consider people as "better than me", "as good as me", "not as good, but reliable within limits", "novice", and "untrustworthy, to be avoided".

> how do you phrase thoughts like, 'so-and-so sucks'

He doesn't do what I tell him to. I can't rely on him. He's been drinking. I don't understand him.

> how do you answer these types when you think the team, or the company, as awhole is doing poorly without insulting your manager?

Be constructive: suggest how to improve something.

Christopher Wells
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Any constructive criticism should go to the coworker, not the manager.

And you might suggest to the manager that if he spent more time on the floor and less behind his desk he wouldn't need spies. :-)

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I think you're completely right Philo. It can be difficult to do, but it's essential.

If your manager is getting you to spy on your co-workers, they're spying on you too.

Edward
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Philo, having just finished the batch of reviews I'm required to do last night - I completely agree with you.

Unfocused Focused
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I'm going to disagree slightly with the collective wisdom here. The manager is asking your opinion of your co-workers. No doubt the manager already has an opinion and wants to compare it with yours. If you say Coworker X is okay and the boss knows X is a jerk, what does that say about you? Be honest, your other co-workers know about X as well as you do.

Tom H
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Badmouthing your coworkers doesn't get anybody anywhere. If your boss already knows it, you're not going to change his mind... just shrug your shoulders and either say you don't really know the guy's work, or he's not outstanding but he's not terrible.  Let the guy fight for himself and deal with his own career.

Rob
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

This thread is probably too stale for anyone to read this..

but I bet that yesterday Scott Adams did!
http://www.dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/dilbert-20040603.html

i like i
Thursday, June 03, 2004

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