[Feb 2018: S3 changed the name from Effectiveness Review to Peer Review]
My comments written down after the 4th effectiveness review (ER) at Codewise.
First of all, the ERs are becoming “no-events”. I mean, people know what to expect (both the hero of ER and the participants). They come prepared, they know what to expect. Around 30 people already participated in the ERs (and few more decided to have one for themselves).
ERs Beg For Well Described Roles
During the S3 course I attended, I heard that implementing some of S3 patterns results in starting using other S3 patterns as well. I think I start to observe a little bit of this happening. The fact we started to run ERs initiated some discussions about our roles. Sometimes we are happy with what we have (usually old job specs from the ancient times when we applied for a job or we were promoted to certain positions) but in some cases ERs are a catalyst of discussion and changes. It would eventually happened anyway, but it seems it will happen sooner thanks to ERs.
The Development Plan
I observed a difficulty with coming up quickly with development plan. I struggled with this myself during my ER. It was hard enough to grasp all the improvement suggestions (there were ~25 of them) and rapidly creating a sensible plan out of them… well, this was challenging. I felt time pressure (10 people staring at me and waiting till I present a plan to them) and that definitely wasn’t comfortable.
Yesterday, I observed how the hero of ER was preparing his plan and I was under the impression that it wasn’t easy for him as well. One of the improvement suggestions he got was that he should delegate things more. So he added “delegate tasks” as one of the points of his development plan. I was expecting more concrete steps towards delegating, not only the promise of “I will delegate more”.
Can we expect the hero to come with some detailed plan just like that? What about the big tasks – like the one that “you should delegate more” – is it OK to have a development plan with point “I will prepare a plan of action on how to delegate and then I follow it”? Or maybe the hero should spent some time on the spot and try to figure out what would be the actions moving him into the desired direction (or at least the next step – like in the GTD method – to set things in motion) ?
The problems with preparing Development Plan might stem from the fact that this were our first ERs, which resulted in a gazillion of improvement suggestions. I would expect to have less of them next time we run ER for the same person (provided that we do not wait too long with it). If so, then preparing a development plan should be much easier.
Things You Learn About Yourself
One guy – let us call him Andy (a leader of one of our teams) – gave the following appreciation: “I really appreciated when you came to me to talk about X. It was good that you reminded me about this. Thanks to you X wasn’t forgotten.” I asked the hero after the ER whether he was surprised by Andy’s words. He said it was unexpected. He rather thought about his own actions in terms of being PITA (kind of: “Here I go to this Andy guy, to give him one more issue to solve, as if he hadn’t got enough of them already… He must hate me for this…”). Now he knows better how his actions are perceived by others. Valuable knowledge, isn’t it?
Hoping for More
We had only 4 ERs so far, and even though I believe they were pretty valuable, I do not want to call it a success yet. Let me wait with fanfares until we run few of them for the same people consecutively. Will we still benefit from them as we do from the first ones? Yes, let me wait before I call it a success. But what we have right now is a promising start. Good!