I used to dread the annual performance review – both as the recipient and the author. Back in my days with a large Canadian corporation I once received a less than stellar review. It was a shock. Unfortunately for all involved, this bad news was coming about 9 months too late. I remember thinking that if I had only known that someone was unhappy about me, or my performance, we could have better dealt with it many months earlier.
I read an article this weekend in the Globe and Mail about the end of this practice at Accenture LLP (358,000 employees). From the CEO of Accenture…
“Performance is an ongoing activity. It’s every day, after any client interaction or business interaction or corporate interaction,” Mr. Nanterme said in an interview with The Washington Post at the time. “It’s much more fluid. People want to know on an ongoing basis, ‘Am I doing the job right? Am I moving in the right direction? Do you think I’m progressing?’ Nobody’s going to wait for an annual cycle to get that feedback. Now it’s all about instant performance management.”
This is a great move and one that I am sure many of us hope is followed by other organizations, especially our own.
Now let’s talk about your projects. Why are you waiting until the end of the project to do a post-mortem? Why are you looking at lessons learned only at the end of the project? Are you spending time with your project resources to review performance and plan ahead? Honestly, are you even taking the time to do a post mortem review of that project?
Changing a couple of words in Mr. Nanterme’s remarks creates an intriguing framework for a regular, real-time project performance review:
‘ARE WE doing right? ARE WE moving in the right direction? Do you think WE ARE progressing?
As a project manager, project director, general manager and even CEO, we should all be looking at the current state of our work and discovering ways to improve, correct, leverage or reinvent – going forward. So often, our first attempt at creating the right environment to get a job done will not be perfect. So often, our first approach to creating a team that has the right balance, structure and culture to get the job done is not perfect. So often, we are dealt a curve ball mid-term that changes the way we should approaching the project.
A regular, pre-scheduled, real-time review of both the team and the work will provide valuable information that can help you change the course mid-project.
The Project Performance Review. Deal with the issues today. Not when it’s too late.
Thank you Accenture. Well done. Now for the rest of us.