These are all of the written comments from my manager, from the annual performance review for 2020 (given 3/23/2021).
Joel is very good at recognizing problem areas, not only on our team but also in other areas. This is an admirable ability and I'm sure his efforts have resulted in improvements in many areas. The one thing I'll say is that sometimes Joel's approach might seem off-putting to others because having inefficiencies pointed out isn't always received well by everyone. Joel and I have discussed this several times and we are both in agreement that sometimes it's ok to let some things go or at the very least to just notify them once and move on assuming they will take care of it.
Joel has found several items that were barriers to execution, one in particular was the fact that now that we are one team we didn't all have access to the MoveIT jobs for every area we now have so he got us all on the same access so on call people could actually handle oncall MoveIT situations when necessary without having to call someone in that system...(for example CIF didn't have access to Mainframe rating and vice versa)
Joel meets expectations in this area and he is very good at sharing his knowledge with the team when he learns of new processes.
Joel has singlehandedly taken on SAGE and its problem fixes, enhancements or changes because most of the team has moved on to the duck creek effort. Joel has also helped other team members to improve, for example, he taught Lori everything he knows about MoveIT so she could handle the PMC projects. Joel gets pulled in a lot of directions and he not only supports SAGE but he also has compulsory insurance and has the most knowledge about report ordering and its components, not to mention being asked to research why something happened...Joel has had an extremely busy year.
Just like everyone on this team, Joel was asked to change directions a lot this year and work on areas he was not familiar with and he did not hesitate to fulfill those expectations. Joel is a very hard worker and he has given of his time freely this year and managed to do an enormous amount of work with short deadlines.
He never hesitates to collaborate with his team or with other teams and with business when the need arises. Joel has a lot of knowledge about our systems and it has been a real effort to keep people from coming directly to him all the time so he could focus on the high priority items.
It is very clear to me that Joel is engaged in his work on every level, when he is presented with research he digs in and finds what was asked for plus he usually finds other things. And as I mentioned above, he gives freely of his time and has given up PTO time to get things done.
Joel always completes the tasks that he is given and in addition he seems to be perpetually on call for various items, plus as I mentioned before he is pulled in a ton of directions from business and everywhere else in the company. We have worked on getting that stopped however Rome wasn't built in a day. Joel handled the security requests for all of our systems that came up unexpectedly at the end of the year and was very thorough in following up and making sure our items were taken care of. Joel also handled the test batch cycle items for the entire group. It is safe to say that he stepped up and took care of a lot of things for the whole team so other team members didn't have to stop working on the duck creek implementation at a very critical time. His willingness to help others can cause him some unnecessary distractions e.g. creating a POC for something when it hadn't been requested.
Joel assisted Lori with Asset Protect because she was trying to handle that single handedly. Joel helped Radha work on the calls to APIC for billing information. Joel finished up the PII effort, he took on the security changes and the list goes on and on...Joel assumed almost all of the expert systems work this year so Radha could work on downstream jobs. It is safe to say that Joel was successful in completing projects that helped growth and profitability.
Joel works tirelessly to make sure things get done and he never complains. His wealth of knowledge and his drive to understand helps this whole team to be successful. Overall this was a good year for Joel and I'm glad he's on my team.
Some items to improve upon, which I mentioned already, would be -
1. to let some things go, it isn't necessary to point out areas for concern in all cases. At the very least if you think they are risks then point them out and let the other team handle them.
2. watch for items that can become distractions - e.g. the POC that wasn't asked for
3. Joel still needs to work on accepting decisions he doesn’t agree with and moving forward in the right way.
My overall rating was "Meets Expectations". This was an example of dysfunctional management -- during the review meeting, she directly told me that I deserved an "Outstanding", however HR would not allow it, since my previous review was "Needs Improvement".
This review was from the only manager from whom I have ever had significant conflicts. To put this in perspective -- before I was moved to her team, if I had been asked if I was ok with a team move, I almost certainly would have answered "ok, as long as it is not under (person X)". But I was not asked. After eight months, and with multiple disagreements and conflicts, I asked to be transferred to another team. Nevertheless, here are all of her comments.
One of the key components of ACE is Agility. Joel struggles with being flexible and adaptable when it comes to hearing and considering the ideas of other people. Another key component of ACE is Collaboration. Communicating, listening and sharing of ideas are all necessary in order to collaborate. What Joel sees as ‘gaining consensus’ is most often seen as refusal to listen to others ideas while continually arguing as to why his idea is best. This tends to shut down other very capable developers and comes across as condescending.
Joel struggles to complete tasks on time not only because he tends to over-complicate his work but he also gets drawn into work that is not his own. CVALIR was not completed on time, at the same time Joel states that he helped lead the NCF monthly load changes. He was not asked to take a lead role on that project, he was told that he could answer questions as they came up. He did work on VendorReports, but had to continually be reminded that VendorReports was his priority. The other numerous tasks that he helped others with should not have taken as much of his time as they did.
Joel is very focused on meeting security requirements. Following security guidelines is something every developer should be doing. However, spending an inordinate amount of time reading security documentation and emailing security to tell them what is wrong with their documentation is not the right way to go about it. At the same time Joel chose to disregard my numerous statements that any Shadow services being used for Duck Creek integrations had to be converted to z/OS Connect. He felt that since I hadn’t given it to him in writing it was not a guideline.
VendorReports was not fully working when Joel moved to a different team. Joel had the underlying structure put together. Considering the four months spent working on VendorReports I would have expected it to be further along.
Joel is passionate about his ideas, to the degree that he does not listen to ideas coming from others. When he disagrees with management he struggles to ‘agree to disagree’ and do as he is asked. When he does not like the answer given by a manager he questions who should really have the authority to make the decision.
My overall rating was "Needs Improvement". For my opinion of this, I will simply quote directly from my own comments in the required acknowledgement of the review:
"... comments in this form appear to largely be responses to my own comments, rather than independently assessing my performance. Further, I believe this assessment is largely a reflection of our personal conflicts, rather than an objective assessment of my performance or benefit to the company. In the past two year I have had four separate managers, and the other three have given me overwhelmingly positive feedback; the only real overlapping criticism being that I am sometimes distracted trying to fix other problems."
Joel does a great job of looking at the long-term picture and how we might improve things with an eye toward the future. We must continue to streamline processes and procedures to reduce maintenance time.
Joel is very proactive and always looking to improve processes and help others. He looks at the big picture, not just the best interests of the unit.
Joel always communicates facts in a timely manner, whether the news is good or bad. He is direct and honest when delivering bad news or talking about mistakes he has made.
Joel does a great job of working with other units to improve the overall process. E-checklist for Commercial lines, AMP, is an example of this.
Joel pays attention to the needs of internal customers. He frequently goes beyond his job responsibilities to ensure customer satisfaction.
Joel's actions are directed toward the success of the team rather than the achievement of personal goals. He is always there to help other team members when they are struggling.
Overall, Joel does a great job for the company. He's an excellent performer, very technically adept, has an excellent memory for how things interact, and is willing to help others with their technical issues.
Joel does a great job of maintaining and improving Expert Systems applications and working on new projects. He's a valuable asset to the Expert Systems team.
(There were no personal comments from my manager included in these reviews. We spoke frequently, and I believe he did not feel there was a need to deliver significant feedback on this delayed annual basis.)
Joel is a valuable member of the American National team and will be critical to the success of the upcoming Duck Creek Policy System project. I have always appreciated his ability to work towards the best solution to a problem, no matter where the work for that solution might lie. I have greatly enjoyed working with him since 2004.
From 2014-2017, my overall review score was "Exceeds Expectations". As I write this in 2021, I have spoken with a few managers, and this is the highest tier they have ever given to any employee. The highest possible tier, "Outstanding", is apparently heavily discouraged by H.R. / upper management.
In 2018 my overall review score was "Meets Expectations". I suspect that this was influenced by my new manager. Due to a team change in 2019, and technical limitations of our review system, the new manager is the one who actually gives final say to the review, even if they were not your manager for that entire year. And we have been told that final scores are a "negotiation", often adjusted after the original input. So it seems likely that the manager, with whom I had previous conflicts, likely lowered this score.
We changed the performance review system in 2014, and data prior to that is completely unavailable to me at this time.