A Bad Review

26 Oct 2001 /

Resemblance to persons living or dead is statistically probable.

Name: Snopes, Flem
Title: Software Development Manager

Developing Others
Flem was not effective in giving team members an opportunity to be successful or to do high-quality work. The project development process was limiting and frustrating.

Rating: Did Not Meet Expectations

Integrity
Good work ethic. Big problem here is that Flem didn’t seem to see how poor project outcomes were a direct result of anything he did or didn’t do. He seemed to feel that he was a victim primarily of bad technology, as well as bad clients, bad luck, bad karma, etc. And while there were some unavoidable setbacks on the project, as there are on any project, Flem didn’t seem to see the human decision points in the process where he could have made a difference.

Rating: Met Some Expectations

Change Management
Flem was slow to react to changing circumstances. He took a “stay the course” approach and continued
to pursue strategies long after they had proven ineffective.

Rating: Did Not Meet Expectations

Communication
Flem is an articulate communicator but does not seem to be effective in reporting bad news to
clients and upper management. He has a “can do” communication style that unfortunately keeps people in a state of total denial about what’s actually happening. As a result, what could have been modest setbacks, had they been acknowledged as such and dealt with, escalated into full-blown breakdowns.

Rating: Met Some Expectations

Customer Service/Responsiveness
Flem was probably overly responsive to customer requests, with a resulting boomerang effect. He took client requirements at face value and did not provide the kind of risk management one would expect from a responsible professional. As a result, most of the client’s investment in web development was wasted on non-productive activities.

Rating: Met Some Expectations

Leadership
Flem maintains a positive attitude when things aren’t going well. Unfortunately, his projects never seem to be going well. He failed to fulfill the main role of a project leader, which is to monitor plan vs. actual and to take action as needed to bring the two closer together. In some cases, a project manager fails to observe that a project is veering off course, but I don’t think that was the case here. I think Flem just failed to act on that observation.

Rating: Met Some Expectations

Performance Effectiveness
Flem did not establish any sort of professional quality standards for the project, resulting in a considerable waste of time, money and human potential. He did not demonstrate the ability to effectively steer a software project.

Rating: Did Not Meet Expectations

Problem Solving/Judgment
Flem advocated a fairly random approach to problem solving. When dealing with system errors, rather than attacking root causes, we took some random action hoping that would fix the error. Sometimes it did, although we didn’t know why. Sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes it introduced a new error. This is an area where a technical leader needs to take a stand and do the right thing.

Rating: Did Not Meet Expectations

Team Orientation
I think Flem’s failure to establish professional quality standards had a disheartening effect on the team. People will work hard to achieve excellence, but not if they see that management places no value on it.

Rating: Did Not Meet Expectations

Technical Expertise
Flem has some very good technical skills, but did not exhibit a good understanding of the full range of technical options, risks and tradeoffs involved in developing a web application.

Rating: Met Some Expectations

Thus spoke The Programmer.


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