Annual Review Meetings - What a Waste of Everybody's Time


When I was head of software development at one of my tasks was to conduct annual review meeting with each of my 15 subordinates. It was a structured meeting with several questions about satisfaction of my team members with the work they did, relations with their peers, their technical competency, career progress, and future plans. I spent only a year at, so I did only one round of yearly review meetings, but it was enough to observe that annual review meetings are a complete waste of everybody's time and that some 100 hours were spent in vain without any positive effect. Annual review meetings are the equivalent of survey groups in product development. In both cases the main motivation of participants is financial, and main objective to conform and avoid problems. For example, a question "Where do you see your future?" has only one correct answer ("With the current company") and any other answer would get employee in trouble. And even if you spend great effort devising the right questions, you'll still have to rely on person's introspection while in reality there is quite a discrepancy between what people say or think and what they actually do. Just like with the product development, the only way to get a real feedback is to observe people doing their actual work and to challenge them with new roles and responsibilities.

So please, stop doing annual review meetings as they are only illusion of feedback, which is worse than nothing.

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