How to write a performance review for a software developer

How to write a performance review for a software developer

What is a performance review?

Performance review involves assessing the capabilities of employees and maintaining good will with employee as well as motivating them so they can perform better.

How to write a performance review for a software developer

The following guidelines will help you know how to write a performance review for a software developer with ease:

  • Structuring a review for the overall performance as well as additional employee responsibilities
  • Identifying the weaknesses and strength of the employee
  • Designing an ideal rating scale
  • Evaluating the contribution of the employee towards development and research
  • Looking at employee technical skills set
  • Evaluating employee comments

In the article How Performance Appraisal can Increase Employee Performance, you will see why it’s really important to know how to write a performance review for a software developer.

What you need to include in the review

When writing a review for a software developer, you have to indicate their effectiveness in terms of their technical knowledge, application exposure, practical experience and their communication abilities. In any setting, one developer might be able to carry out a task in less than half the time that is taken by another.

Knowing how to write a performance review for a software developer enables you to tell your readers whether the developer is competent enough or not. Your readers will be able to tell whether the developer has the ability to complete tasks within the shortest time possible and communicate in an effective manner or not. Such knowledge makes it easy for you to complete writing the performance review without hitting many setbacks.

Tips on how to write a performance review for a software developer

To write a performance review, the first thing you need to do is come up with the key performance indicators. These will help you write the rest of the review and they include:

  • Whether the software developer’s overall attitude is positive. Do they enjoy their job?
  • During the process of gathering the requirements, does the developer ask any probing questions that might help in identifying their true needs? If this is not the case, the scope of the review should be changed.
  • Consider whether the developer presents any clear plans for how the software development process proceeds. Ideally, this is supposed to include estimates of the duration projects take as well as when they are completed.
  • Were the delivery dates and hours given to the developer met and if not what are some of the reasons.

It is by asking questions such as these that it is possible to get great ideas on how you can write a performance review for a software developer. Note that the review performance should also include the progress of each project undertaken by the developer.

List the skills of the software developer

Being able to list the responsibilities of a software developer and checking them against what the employees have shows you know how to write a performance review for a software developer. Here are some of the things you must include in your review:

  • Quantity and quality of work-This includes how thorough they are, their level of accuracy, productivity and whether they attain the goals set.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills-How good are they at teamwork, persuasion, cooperation, listening and empathy
  • Organization, planning and administration-Includes prioritization of software development projects, profit orientation and setting goals
  • Leadership-Includes how decisive they are, their level of collaboration, accessibility, ability to delegate and responsiveness
  • Job expertise and knowledge-Here you are supposed to look at their training, researching, mentoring and knowledge base
  • Attitude-As part of learning how to write a performance review for a software developer, you also have to state the kind of attitude they have. In this case, some of the things you need to consider include their dedication, flexibility, energy, loyalty, ability to show initiative and reliability level.
  • Ethics-This includes honesty, professionalism, diversity, integrity, sustainability and fairness
  • Creative thinking-Software developers need to show a high level of creativity hence you are supposed to assess their level of innovation, ability to solve problems, originality and receptiveness to changes in technology within the development world.
  • Self-growth and development-While at it, it is also important to evaluate the level of education, skill building, education, career planning and advancement of the employee.

While sharpening your skills on how to write a performance review for a software developer, you should be able to set goals and achievements that are realistic. This will not only ease things for you but also make sure the review is done in a fair and just manner. Ideally, this means setting measurable objectives to the developer’s normal job such as creation of software technology no one understands. Take into consideration the unmeasurable value of the developers work as well while writing the review.

The objectives you set should be specific as well and they should not have any inflated estimates. The approach you use while setting the objectives is what determines whether or not you are able to deliver a performance review that is well written and capable of highlighting the weaknesses and strengths of the software developer.

Outline of how to write a performance review for a software developer

While writing the review, the outline should include:

  • Employee name
  • The name of the manager ( and that of the reviewer if they are different)
  • Review date
  • Review period which ideally is a fiscal year or calendar
  • Evaluation criteria and review instructions
  • Overall rating (which should include exceeded expectations, needed improvement and met expectations
  • General feedback regarding performance of the developer in order to support the rating
  • 2 to 3 specific examples that are in support of the overall setting.

Recommended aspects

Apart from the aspects listed above that need to be included in the review, there are others that are recommended as they offer great value to the process of review. Some of these include the following:

  • Objectives that are specific based and related to the job description of a software developer
  • Rating for each task that the developer performs
  • The weaknesses and strengths of the developer
  • Employee training opportunities and needs
  • The developmental goals suggested

Optional aspects

There are other aspects that you can include in your review. These are beneficial in completing the review but at the same time, they are optional and include:

  • Examples that support each setting of performance objective
  • What clients and peers have to say about the developer
  • Formal descriptions of the criteria performance

A good example of a review to help you know how to write a performance review for a software developer can be found It lists the exceed expectations, meets expectations and needs improvements section.

You can also look at the sample found here to further understand how a performance review is written.

In the case of a software developer, you should include the following while writing your performance review:

Exceeds Expectations

  • Possess excellent skills in software development and testing
  • Be extremely causation of time and reliable
  • Deliver excellent programming code and test reports in a timely fashion
  • Great analytical kills for purposes of problem solving
  • Ability to take initiatives for team activities
  • Great communication skills
  • Clarity in how they present projects
  • Working without any supervision

Exceeds Expectations

  • Good set of technical skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Good communication skills
  • Dedication in problem solving and reliability
  • Ability to take group activity initiatives
  • Excellent skills presentation
  • Needs little supervision

Meets expectations

  • Skill sets are good but there is room to hone them
  • Software delivery is on time but with plenty of resources and effort
  • Good time keeping but there is need for increasing confidence in taking initiatives
  • Requires improvement on verbal communication in the course of making client calls
  • There is need to improve presentation skills
  • Little supervision required

In the instance of expectations evaluation, it is advisable to ensure that the software developer is rated in accordance to how they perform. You can do this on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 been the highest.

Use the above tips on how to write a performance review for a software developer whenever you are needed to write one.

From the above guidelines, we hope now you know how to write a performance review for a software developer in easy and simple steps.

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