How would you go about evaluating a programmer?


A few weeks ago, I was assigned to evaluate all our programmers. I'm very uncomfortable with this since I was the one who taught everyone the shop's programming language (they all got out of college not knowing the language and as luck would have it, I'm very proficient with it.). On the evaluation, I was very biased on their performance (perfect scores).

I'm glad that our programming shop doesn't require an average performance level but I heard horror stories of shops which do require an average level.

My question are as follows:

  1. As a programmer, what evaluation questions would you like to see?
  2. As a manager, what evaluation questions would you like to see?
  3. As the evaluator, how can you prevent bias in your evaluation?
  4. I would love to remove the evaluation test. Is there any advantages to having an evaluation test? Any disadvantage?

Best Solution

Gets things done is really all you need to evaluate a developer. After that you look at the quality that the developer generates. Do they write unit tests and believe in testing and being responsible for the code they generate? Do they take initiative to fix bugs without being assigned them? Are they passionate about coding? Are they always constantly learning, trying to find better ways to accomplish a task or make a process better? These questions are pretty much how I judge developers directly under me. If they are not directly under you and you are not a direct report for them, then you really shouldn't be evaluating them. If you are assigned in evaluating those programmers that aren't under you, then you need to be proactive to answer the above questions about them, which can be hard.

You can't remove the evaluation test. I know it can become tedious sometimes, but I actually enjoy doing it and it's invaluable for the developer you are evaluating. You need to be a manager that cares about how your developers do. You are a direct reflection on them and as they are of you. One question I always leave up to the developer is for them to evaluate me. The evaluation needs to be a two lane road.

I have to also evaluate off a cookie cutter list of questions, which I do, but I always add the above and try to make the evaluation fun and a learning exercise during the time I have the developer one on one, it is all about the developer you are reviewing.

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