• Subject: RE: Performance Review
  • From: "Ed Chabot" <echabot@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001 09:31:48 -0400
  • Importance: Normal

Al,
        I can't tell exactly what you are looking for, if indeed you're looking 
for
input or if you're just venting after a rough experience with your boss.
What I can offer is some input, as a manager, as to what I consider
important criteria.  Please take these thoughts for what they are,
observations based on my experiences with no details of your work, your work
environment or your boss.
        Being the best programmer that someone has seen or even being a 
technically
superior programmer isn't as important to me as a person's ability to get
along with the rest of the staff, the users and especially anyone in upper
management that they may interact with.  If the technically superior program
takes 1 1/2 times as long to write, test, debug and roll out than a less
technically superior(hereafter referred to as T.S.) solution and they both
do the same thing and are both maintainable then I don't want the T.S. one.
In fact, it costs me money and time (which is sometimes more important than
money!)  I think you are selling yourself short when you put all your value
on the code you write.  In most cases, your boss will be less technical than
you and won't be able to appreciate any "neat" coding techniques.  He or she
will be able to appreciate things like getting the job done close to when
you say it will be done, not having to go back to a program or system after
it's been implemented, hearing positive things and/or not hearing negative
things from peers, users, etc, having a positive, upbeat attitude, being a
team player, etc.
        Unless you were the one that fought for and convinced upper management 
that
the AS/400 was the machine to have, I don't think you can take credit for
the stability of your environment.  All AS/400 shops have that luxury
(necessity?) and it's not a matter of how well the system is managed.  We
have a company that has been running a 12 year old AS/400 that is still
running V2R3.  We are changing that now, but my point is they don't have any
AS/400 problems and they obviously are not managing their environment.  The
AS/400 is stable!
        I may be wrong, but I don't think the only thing you are being judged 
on is
the quality of your programs.  I hope this perspective helps.

Ed Chabot
The Marlin Firearms Company
100 Kenna Drive
North Haven, CT 06473
(203)985-3254

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-midrange-l@midrange.com
[mailto:owner-midrange-l@midrange.com]On Behalf Of MacWheel99@aol.com
Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2001 6:43 AM
To: AS400 & family discussion group
Subject: Performance Review


I just had my annual review & it was not a pretty sight.

The good news includes - I still have my job - my boss has given me clear
indication of what needs to be fixed & some overall goals, which have been
sorely lacking in recent years.

It occurs to me that it would be extremely constructive if I could provide
my
boss with some alternatives to the system he now uses, since he is not a
computer technical person ... how on earth is a non technical computer
person
expected to be able to judge the quality of software I write in some
language
he does not know ... how challenging is this or that?

There is stuff that is extremely difficult for me to do, but I cannot
communicate with a non-programmer about what the challenges are.  How can a
non-programmer evaluate my performance?

It would be simple for some 3rd party, familiar with the languages we use,
to
look at some of my programs in an audit & make some remarks about how my
relative worth to the company, compared to the quality of code at other
comparable companies, but I have been suggesting for decades that we get a
computer audit on a larger scale, so this just aint going to happen.

Of course this sort of thing can backfire.

I remember in the midst of some conversion at a former emplouer whining
about
some challenge they had given me, saying that there is no way I can get all
this done inside the deadlines, and my boss informing me that the company,
without telling me, had asked IBM if I had what it took to do the
conversion,
without any professional help, and the SE (which tells you how long ago this
was) told them that I was the best programmer that anyone at the local IBM
office had ever had the good fortune to run across.  So the result of that
was they threw even more work my way.   The shame of it was that when I
finally left that place, I was unable to use the SE as a work reference.  I
did ask the SE for confirmation that this was not a snow job.

I asked my current boss

HOW MANY DAYS HAS THE COMPANY BEEN DOWN DUE TO COMPUTER INFRASTRUCTURE
PROBLEMS?  He said NONE, in a tone of voice as if he was surprised that I
should ask such a question.  I told him that in my opinion there are 3
reasons why that is so ,,, our choice of having IBM 400 hardware, our choice
of a good ERP, and my performance in managing it.

Now I think that there ought to be some industry statistics - how many days
of surprise down time & other mishaps do other comparable companies have -
400 & non-400, so there is a basis of comparison with our performance.

How much time do companies typically spend testing software improvements?
How critical is this?

I was going to ask him, but I bit my tongue, because my foot was headed
there
at lightning speed.  HOW MANY COMPUTER BUGS HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED AS A RESULT
OF SOFTWARE I HAVE WRITTEN FOR THE COMPANY.

The reason I bit my tongue is that I can think of 3 in the last 2 years &
the
really embarrassing part of that answer is that 1 of them I could not find,
so I developed a work around.

This is another area in which there might be some reliable statistics.
Rate of bugs created, both in terms of like
1 bug per million lines of source code & how many in what time period

It would not be fair to compare to Microsoft Windows because that software
is
written with full intention of tossing it in the garbage in 2-3 years when
the next version comes out - we should compare with other 400 places whose
software is intended to work for say 10 years at least.

MacWheel99@aol.com (Alister Wm Macintyre) (Al Mac)

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