I am a web developer. My office sets a list of criteria such as

  • Discipline
  • Attendance
  • Project Schedule
  • Teamwork
  • Problem Solving
  • Idea Sharing
  • Dedication

for evaluating employees performance.

Each criteria is allocated some points and the review is based on the total points scored in each criteria. My problem is I feel these criteria are quite vague and I don't think they can actually portray an employees performance. In software development, I think there are other other ways to measure an employees performance. Any suggestions? Thanks

  • 7
    Does the office itself get scored on how moronic its scoring systems are?
    – Bohemian
    Sep 14, 2011 at 5:27
  • SO may not be the right SE site for this. Perhaps programmers.SE or the project management site?
    – Iterator
    Sep 14, 2011 at 5:27
  • 4
    Is management evaluated by developers with the same criterias?
    – user2567
    Sep 14, 2011 at 6:24
  • Attendance, really? What is this, kindergarten?
    – jhocking
    Sep 14, 2011 at 11:39
  • @jhocking Attendance is a reasonable measure, when used properly. If I took a lot of time off without explaining it, my supervisor would question it. It's not about how often you take off, but instead why you take time off and if you continue to meet deadlines when you are in.
    – Thomas Owens
    Sep 14, 2011 at 11:45

7 Answers 7


Of course there are other ways to measure performance. Unfortunately (unless I missed something in your post), you're not in a position to dictate the office's criterea (however archaic it may seem).

Your job (if you want to succeed there and further your career), is to meet and exceed those expectations. Ask your manager for an explanation of how they quantify this criteria. You need to understand and align yourself with their expectations.

Only if they don't have methods to quantify these things (and I suspect that they can't produce a list for a few of those things on their list), perhaps have the conversation about how they can possibly expect anyone to be able to excel in the company if there's no way to attach tangibles to each item in the list. IMHO, this is the politically correct way to go about telling your office management they're nuts without telling them: By making them realize that their criteria is a little out.

If you feel that something is vague, seek clarification from the people imposing this criteria on you, not from internet randoms.

  • Beware that by knowing how they quantify each point, the score may become an end in itself, and it can end up being counterproductive (for example, to raise idea sharing you start to interrupt your co workers way more than necessary if they mesure by the time you talk with your co workers about work) Sep 14, 2011 at 8:02
  • 1
    That's not so much a problem of you the worker finding out how the score is calculated, so much as they the manager incentivizing the wrong thing.
    – jhocking
    Sep 14, 2011 at 11:42
  • +1 " seek clarification from the people imposing this criteria on you, not from internet randoms"
    – WaelJ
    Sep 14, 2011 at 18:41
  • @Jonathan: It's your job to take the information and apply it in the best way possible. In your example, rather than interrupt co workers, start an internal wiki or blog where you can record your ideas to share with others whenever they're inclined to look. Sep 14, 2011 at 18:57
  • @Demian : I agree with you. What I wanted to point out is that if you know what exact kind of metric they're using (and in my example they look at how much you talk directly to your coworkers, and not other means of communication), you may end up optimizing for the metric itself, not the underlying goal (I know not all organization focuses exclusively on the metrics of course) Sep 14, 2011 at 19:54

I am a project leader in a mid size company in Switzerland (about 2000 people). In my team I always try to avoid being too strict about office time.
I also organize a social event weekly in order to know my collegues also under a personal perspective.

However every week or 2 weeks I set a milestone that has to be achieved by each developer. In this way i can clearly see if that person is productive or not. I leave to anyone the freedom to come and go from the office when s/he likes, but everyone knows that has to deliver before the deadline.

I found that this approach pays back in terms of dedication and attendance, since people do not feel "controlled", but they are more relaxed at work. This lets they be always capable to finished their own tasks, since everyone finds his/her own better working "style". At last Teamwork is excellent too, thanks to our socialc events.

  • 3
    Sounds good, especially if this milestone is realistic and can be achieved.
    – NoChance
    Sep 14, 2011 at 10:45
  • The timeframe to achieve them is proportional to the complexity of the task. However I always try to split new releases in a subset of smaller tasks, usually an achievement every week (without documentation). This is also a good way to evaluate how developer reacts under stress: mainly with new hired people I assign them relative hard tasks in only a week in order to see how they face the challange and refer (or not) to me if they will not be able to achieve the milestone assigned.
    – Francesco
    Sep 14, 2011 at 11:43
  • That sounds really nice, steady progress and milestones rather than fix the problem as soon as there's lots of warning flags piled up
    – user7433
    Jun 25, 2013 at 19:19

The Ultimate review Point is gets things done, but that is even more vague than the presented ones.

The presetend Points could be a try to break getting things done down in components that are easier to measure.

But the problem with these points is (with exception of attendance, that's just stupid) is that they are again hard to measure and easy to get wrong.

For example, Idea Sharing: here are my 100 mails with suggestions for improvement of the company. Does that mean i provide valuable input, or did i just realize that it is far easier to suggest things other people should do than doing them myself?

Or, the evergreen, Teamwork. How do you want to measure it? 'Doesnt show up with an Axe to kill coworkers'? Every method that involves the rest of the Team degrades quickly into a groupthink-fest, imho. Noone likes the collegue who states a Team's low standards, regardless how good he presents it.

I think, to improve the situation, instead of trying to improve the reports, one should find out, what they try to manage with the information they hope to get from the reports, and improve that. The try to get a 'big picture' and then make some sound management decision about individual developers failed to often that i have any hopes that it could be done right.

  • Joel's thoughts on hiring apply to evaluating performance too.
    – jhocking
    Sep 14, 2011 at 11:43


That's the only performance measure I can think of. You come to work late, you drink wine, you sleep at work, whatever you do, I just want you to write that feature in 2 days. This is what I want, if I be a manager.

However, there are other things (bureaucratic things) which need to be addressed in many companies. While they matter, they shouldn't be regarded as an indicator of the developer's performance. Rather they can be applied as indicators of developer's loyalty or developer's qualification, or stuff like that.

Among your items, IMHO, Project Schedule, Teamwork, and Problem Solving are indicators that a good developer should have.

  • 3
    @Downvoter, voting down is not a difficult task. The most difficult part is to be dialectical. Please have enough courage to support your down-vote and tell me why? Sep 14, 2011 at 6:50

As a developer I fix myself only one objective, whatever my boss expects from me, and this objective is customer satisfaction.


In addition to your list, I would stress on completing the assigned work, positive and effective communication within and outside the team and a bonus for positive suggestions and helping others. Attitude is important. While positive attitude is hard to measure, negative attitude can be easily spotted and is harmful to the team.


Well i must admit first that this system in your company is really a bore!!

Though some of the points can be retained...some need to be removed they are too old fashioned

  • Discipline
  • Attendance
  • Dedication

I think the above points can be removed blind folded!!!

A true passionate programmer can be identified by the naked eye to any one who understands a bit of programming! Such guys might score the lowest in the above marking system you have got...

With a programmer you need to look at his / her

Approach towards the work is a very necessary aspect a programmer, he/ she might take a project with different eyes and in most cases this first look and approach will decide the future of the project...These things can be very well identified in team meeting and discussions...

Team work (that there in your list)

Idea Sharing is vital, If done in proper way I think that it would always help and if not done will mar the progress of the company...

Problem Solving though it can be a team effort at times but you cant push it away as sometimes individual brilliance in a team can do wonders

Also another thing you must see is the efficiency of the programmer in his work.... a loop may be executed in different ways but the most efficient LOC should be applauded

  • Really? An efficient LOC should be applauded? Someone's missing the big picture I'm afraid. Sep 14, 2011 at 6:27
  • not that i am in favor of there status reports, but you state: 'to identify a true programmer you need a true programmer', something the managers obviously arent, so for them, this is no viable approach.
    – keppla
    Sep 14, 2011 at 7:08

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