During the first three months following my arrival at Pyxis, I have been told I had to go through a 360 evaluation. My first reaction was: “A what?” A 360 evaluation, I was told, is conducted with your peers and is about different aspects of your work and yourself. I went there with a little reluctance and wondered, why should we do this in front of everyone? I was surprised by the respect and the general approach of this evaluation method. Let me tell you a little about how it works.
First, in this type of evaluation, the people invited to evaluate employees are not necessarily their bosses, but rather their colleagues. This is mainly explained by the type of organization Pyxis is. The structure is essentially horizontal, which means that each employee is on the same level as his colleagues. There are no different levels for developers or architects. There are only people who are there to help each other in order to create the best possible software.
Everyone is responsible for expressing their opinion about the architecture or technologies being used and to give their two cents about the project. We have a boss however, but he does not interfere with our daily tasks. He gives us the freedom to organize ourselves to deliver the projects we are working on.
So I have the responsibility to accomplish what is asked from me and to do it to the best of my abilities. I also have the responsibility to question my colleagues’ work. Indeed, I am the right person to comment other people’s work because I am working with them on a daily basis. I am mindful of what they are doing and if need be, I offer them my help. In short, I am in a good position to be critical of my colleagues’ work and vice versa.
By working with them every day, I learn to know them entirely: their habits, their jokes, their interactions, etc. Over time, I gain a better understanding of the people I work with.
There are several steps to the 360 evaluation. First, there is the introspection. During that stage, the proposition is to review oneself and one’s year and to consider various aspects allowing to have a better overall vision. Here they are:
- Intention: It refers to what is deepest, what motivates or directs our actions, in all situations and in all that we do.
- Motivation: It is about our commitment to an intention or to our work in general. Motivation is a potential energy for something.
- Personal life: This is about the aspects of our life outside of work. It is very important because it shapes who we are on a daily basis.
- Professional life: This angle targets specific aspects of our life at work.
- Blind spots: This last element concerns our characteristics or hidden powers. They can be negative or positive, but they directly affect every facet of our lives.
Then, the next step is to meet with your peers to gather their comments and appreciations. There are two ways to gather those, either by seeing them individually or by meeting the whole group. Individual meetings allow you to have more open and honest conversations. Collective ones allow you to unite similar comments. Furthermore, group conversations can bounce on each other to enrich the conveyed message.
The choice of meeting type is at everyone’s discretion as is its exact process. Personally, I like to start by explaining my introspection. I talk about my good and bad shots of the past year. Then I invite my colleagues to give their opinions about my introspection or to simply express their positive and constructive comments. Meanwhile, I take notes to be able to re-examine all that with a cool head.
Thirdly, you need to gather all the comments you received and define improvement objectives. To ensure the follow-up’s continuity, we write down these objectives with the help of our caddy. In our company, the caddy is a professional mentor. It is the person with whom we discuss our action plan for the year to come. He helps us find different ways of reaching our goals. It is the right person to share our objectives.
In the end, this process offers the advantage of open-mindedness regarding everyone’s opinions. In our company, people are at the centre of any development and the 360 process actually allows to put forward the human aspect of the evaluation.