Chapter 9 – Project Closure and Evaluation

9.7. Performance Evaluation

Performance Evaluation

The purpose for the performance evaluation is to assess how the project manager and the project team performed during the project. It is a structured, in-depth process to gather information about the people involved,  assess contributions to the project, and provide feedback to stakeholders on performance.  The performance evaluation of a project team is similar to that of traditional performance evaluation for employees.

Steps in the Performance Evaluation Process

Step 1. Development of an evaluation form:  The form needs to be fair and objective (standardized) that includes KSA (knowledge, skills, abilities), quality of work, work habits, work behaviours, quantity of work, .

Step 2. Identification of the performance measures: Standard performance measures that allows HR Specialists to evaluate performance objectively.  Sometimes a job description allows as a measurement tool.

Step 3. Define the guidelines for feedback: The is the opportunity for a discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the project member.  As well, offering support for improvement is important.  This is a time to acknowledge pride in the success and the contribution made by the team member.  It is critical to the team member’s esteem and confidence in moving forward in their traditional job or a new project. It is also a time for the team member to provide feedback on their performance.  The Human Resources Specialist wants to ensure they encourage open dialogue, there is an exchange of information, and an opportunity to better understand each other’s perspective of the work completed.

Step 4. Create reward and disciplinary steps:  Often at closure of projects, there are bonuses for team members.  This is the time to explain the bonus, and how and when it will be given.  As well, Human Resources Specialists need to be prepared for handling team members who performed poorly.  The discipline action would be discussed prior to the project beginning–a verbal warning, a written warning, if no improvement, termination. At the end of the project, if there were any disciplinary actions, they would be discussed with the team member, consequences that had been implemented, and any action that had been taken.  Plans for improving performance would be reviewed too.

Step 5. Establish a schedule:  It is a best practice to establish a performance schedule at the beginning of a project.  Human Resources would establish the evaluation form, performance measurement, and guidelines for feedback prior to the team beginning the project.  The performance evaluation would be explained to the team to allow them a reference point at the beginning to monitor their own performance.  It is highly suggested that Human Resources schedule regular “check in” performance evaluations throughout the project.  This may dependent on the duration of the project.  Short projects may only have a post performance evaluation.  Longer projects may have 2-3 scheduled performance evaluations.  The post evaluation then is a follow up that brings closure to the project.

The critical point is that the entire process needs to be a structured, formal, and fair approach that promotes growth and development, and acknowledges the contribution of the team members to the project.