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Getting Started: Performance Reviews

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Getting Started: Performance Reviews

This document explains the thought and theory behind the weekly performance reviews. It outlines the qualities and factors which the review is based on. 

Communication

Working remote can be challenging, and communication is number one for success with our team. It is fundamental to the proper operation of any team environment or collaborative effort. At MCS, we want communication to be clear, respectful, and action-oriented. 

In addition to daily sign ins/sign offs, a weekly wrap-up message is a great way to snapshot your efforts for the week. These messages demonstrate the overall progress of the project that week.

See below for a weekly wrap-up:

The details below provide an overview of what has been most successful for us to coach up our new team members to avoid conflict, plan better, and keep things running as smooth as cat butter.

  • Do you set weekly and monthly goals?
  • Do you start your shift with a sign-on message?
  • Do you end your shift with a sign-off message?
  • Do you check Slack at least 3 times during your shift to answer questions and messages?
  • Do you effectively articulate your questions when asking for clarification or guidance?
  • Do you provide supportive and objective based feedback?
  • Do you regularly communicate with the other members of your team?
  • Do you actively listen when interacting with others?

Discipline and Task Management

MCS is agile and trusts its members to self-manage their times and tasks. This is a mutually beneficial relationship in which we allow our cats to have flexibility and autonomy with their time in exchange for their best effort and commitment.

We have our own task management system that adopts some of the best practices from an agile/scrum system, with simplifications and iterations that have worked best for us. We are always improving our processes and skills, and we want all of our team members to share that same voracious interest in new knowledge, self-improvement, and efficiency.

One of our key task management goals is to have every member do sign in and sign off messages for their objectives for the day.

These messages help team members know what their compatriots are working on, and helps everyone stay organized. Additionally, they encourage everyone to be accountable to themselves and each other.

  • Do you keep a project or sprint’s overall timelines and objectives in mind while planning your work
  • Do you set weekly goals and work to hit them?
  • Do you keep focused and free of distractions while you work?
  • Do you keep track of your hours each week?
  • Do you take responsibility for your role in a project?
  • Do you lead yourself before attempting to lead others?

Organization

Cooperating with others requires that we present and share our work in an orderly and standardized fashion. We should also store and maintain our work in such a way that it is usable by others.

Part of this means communicating with other team members, even those in a different role. For example, here is a dev talking to a project manager so that the sound engineers have the information they need to complete their tasks:

  • Do you follow formatting standards and style guidelines while creating documentation or assets?
  • Do you submit work to the proper channels or destinations?
  • Do you use a system for managing your tasks and assignments?
  • Do you align your work with the overall timeline and objectives of the projects you are a part of?

Teamwork

Every project is a collaboration between many individuals with different talents and specialties. Together, we are able to create things we could never do on our own.

Below we see some sweaty wrestlers coordinating their efforts, using their sign-offs, and thanking one another in a truly teamly fashion. It warms my cat heart just reading it.

  • Do you interact respectfully with your teammates?
  • Do you coordinate with others to combine your efforts?
  • Do you help answer questions and clear doubts when you are able?
  • Do you promote a positive team culture?
  • Do you utilize the resources (special knowledge or skills) of the other specialists on your team to make your own work better?

Flexibility

Our company moves fast to take advantage of a multitude of opportunities. We have many projects in motion, and it is important that our core team members be able to support multiple teams or objectives.

Sometimes this means doing a task which is not strictly your job code, for the good of the project and company.

For example, above we see how the dev did a quick art edit. This is definitely not his job, but he knew he could complete the task quickly to unblock himself and keep up the momentum on the game.

  • Do you keep your tasks and priorities organized?
  • Do you build runway on projects and stay ahead of other team members (such as developers or artists) so that you can accommodate new or priority tasks when they arise?
  • How well can you take on tasks outside of your comfort zone to help support emergent needs or situations?
  • Are you able to adjust to the requirements of each new project?

Leadership

Everything rises and falls on leadership. Because our company has an agile hierarchy and structure, we need strong individuals to anchor projects and teams together. 

Additionally, it also means thinking critically and going above and beyond the minimum requirements for a task. For example, here is an instance of an artist that overcame a gap in the specifications by overdelivering on his output.

It was easy for him to swap the palettes and submit both tilesets, and it allowed the project to continue on undelayed.

  • Do you take the initiative in adding value to projects through extra effort, details, or documentation?
  • Do you create and maintain momentum for a project?
  • Do you take responsibility for the project’s overall progress?
  • Do you help others by providing clarification and resources or by removing blockers?
  • Do you seek solutions and attempt to solve problems for yourself and your team?
  • Do you take a role in resolving disputes or issues before they become problems?
  • Are you committed to your work and your company?
  • Do you demonstrate stamina and a long-term mindset to help projects survive long developments and challenges?
  • Are you teachable and demonstrate an openness to new ways of doing things?
  • Do you set a good example of the other major qualities mentioned above?
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