I used to have 7 engineers reporting to me in 2009. Back in January/February 2009 I was cracking my head to prepare 7 performance plans and 7 training plans. The plans went back and forth between me, the boss and the team members. It took us more than a month to finalize them.
After completing a high profile and very demanding project I found myself left with only 3 performance appraisals to be done for 2009. We lost 4 engineers in 2009. It's a really bad news, I know. But I only have to do 3 appraisals next week.... so, yeay!!!
During every appraisal session I tried my best to be fair and at the same time evaluate each engineer honestly. It's not an easy task. Some were just too quiet and accepted each evaluation while the rest could become rather vocal and defensive.
However, this year with all the new KPIs introduced I anticipate some changes during each appraisal session. Every achievement is measured in numbers, so that won't left much for arguments. When there are fewer arguments, I can spend more time highlighting their areas of improvements. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing a team member pulling up their socks and performed twice as good after appraisal is done.
Having said that, the most frustrating thing that could happen is seeing the team members hastily updating their CVs and started taking personal phone calls at the office stair case or in the toilet. These are the two possibilities. So far I've never had any team member who remained their old selves after appraisal (except for the Diva - but she never really reported to me... hiks ;) )
Although I lost 4 engineers, 2009 has been rather kind to us. Or rather, the team members have been helping themselves by being more independent and efficient. I dare say that our overall performance actually was 100% better than 2008. Let's not forget, we had 5 pregnant ladies in the team throughout the year.... yet all of us performed! That's really something.
I loved my 2009 team. This year, I'm leading a different team and there's a loooooot of work to be done. Good luck to me, yeay!