How to Run a Performance Review: 5 Steps to Greater Results [PART TWO]

by Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt)

Yesterday we posted about why performance reviews are so important, discussed the benefits of having regularly scheduled reviews, as well as how you would get started with the first step. Below are the final four steps for conducting a great performance review!

Step 2 – Preparing

The performance agreement is part of the preparation, where you sit down and agree in the beginning to use it as your baseline. Then you gather results, perhaps by asking the person that you are evaluating to provide you results. Ask, “How are you doing? Show me your deliverables.” Pull any kind of metrics that you can use so that you have facts. You do not want to guess, make things up or go by hearsay—something you heard at the water cooler.

Step 3 – Conducting

When you sit down and conduct the review it’s important to make sure the person is relaxed. After all, they are one of your team members. If someone is nervous and upset or defensive right off the bat it will not lead to good results. Let that person know you are there to support them and to talk about deliverables and results, not attack them as an individual. Be very respectful and just look at the things you agreed upon. Look at where they need to be, and where they really are. Then, look at what things you need to put in place in order to meet those objectives, and talk about those next steps.

Step 4 – Writing Up

Write up everything you covered in a document for later review and agreement. They may give you input on how you as the project manager can grow and develop and support them, or may have ideas for training or other improvements. Include the metrics so you both can see the baseline, where they were to be, and compare to where they actually were. Lastly, be sure to include next steps so you can review and track those.

Step 5 – Communicating

After you’ve conducted the performance review and written it up, meet with them again. Simply approach it by saying, “This is what we discussed, and what I documented. I just want to make sure this was your understanding.” If it wasn’t fearful enough conducting the interview and writing it up, it’s necessary to also communicate the result to them effectively. Remember to always be respectful of the person and look at results and metrics, not attack them as a person. Be respectful to the performance agreement; it is the agreed upon, specific and measurable document you must always track by. You may need to tweak it, but once you agree on the outcome, review the next steps and set a time to meet again. The more frequently you do performance reviews, the better the results. Don’t wait until the very end to figure out everyone missed their objective.

These are a few steps that I’ve found helpful in achieving greater results. If you are one of those project managers who doesn’t look forward to conducting a performance review, these steps will make it much easier for you and your team.

If you found these tips from Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt) of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at


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