The UX of Self-Reviews

By | June 13, 2013

I recently had to fill out a “Self-Review” for work.  Evaluate yourself for the year and write down what you think.  The hard part is deciding how much to stick your chest out and how much to pick on your weaknesses.  If you write it too “puff-piece” then the management will not trust your point of view.  If it’s too critical, you will sound like a bad employee.  How do you know which tone to use?

As usual, I put on my UX hat and used empathy to figure out a solution.  Specifically, in addition to writing my own review, I have to evaluate reviews of people I manage.  I thought about my experience doing that and extrapolated a few rules.  There were a few things I hated and wanted to avoid them:

  1. Don’t be long-winded. Managers have lots to do and don’t want to read someone’s life story.  Get to the point.  How did you think you did this year?
  2. Don’t be terse. On the opposite spectrum, we don’t want to read caveman grunts that don’t give color to what you did.  Bottom line: The best answer is as simple as possible, but not simpler. (paraphrasing Einstein)
  3. Don’t avoid bad experiences.  It’s OK to be glass half-full, but don’t ignore reality. Taking on a bad experience head-on is actually a real plus.

This year, I did OK, but I want to do better.  I want to grow.  I’m looking forward to what cool features and products I can make and inspire.

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