Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Self-Evaluating On A Failing Project

I had an interesting problem today.  Like many companies ours requires us to provide self-evaluations periodically through the year, as part of our performance review process. I'm not a fan of our process, I find it bureaucratic, unresponsive, and mostly pointless.  Today's task had its own set of challenges. How do you do a self-evaluation on a project that you think is failing?

I started four times and realized each time that I was sliding into a litany of complaints about the project as opposed to an evaluation. One of the difficult tasks in regards to the project is that many of the traditional measurement points are irrelevant. In project work the most common form of measurement is performance against schedule, against the project and process milestones. However, in this case, our project and our process are all over the place.  We're not following any standardized process except, perhaps, in name only.  We've certainly pretty much ignored standard milestones.  So, how do I self-measure my performance?

After a couple of tries I ultimately decided on simply stating things as they were and highlighting the parts I was involved with, then giving some emphasis in regards to the things that were above and beyond my current assignments.  It is a strange thing because, in my view, the overall project is pretty much a horribly run dismal failure - yet on the project there are many people doing solid, professional, creative and imaginary work.  It is the classic incident of succeeding in failure - but, to succeed in failure requires enlightened management, and I have no faith that my upper management is enlightened.

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