Tip # 3: Highlight the best

Have a carefully curated list of “best of the best” stuff - this could come in quite handy to support your performance evaluation narrative.

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Last time we talked about recording what you do every day. This gives a lot of data on what you are doing, but has one disadvantage - it’s a lot of data (pun intended), so it is less useful than it could be.

Let’s take reviewing pull requests as an example. If you did it frequently and maintained a high bar you likely had a lot of impact on the project outcomes, educated and uplifted the entire team, have caught up potential issues, and so on.

The challenge is, something like “educated the team through thoughtful code reviews” is a very vague and subjective claim. Such claims have a risk of being reduced in value, or even completely dismissed, unless they are supported by strong evidence. However, it’s unlikely someone will have time and willingness to sift through a few hundred pull requests you have reviewed to find find that evidence.

So, do yourself (and your EM) good and keep track of the most impactful, most awesome, best-of-the-best things you have done. It should be separate from the “everything you do” list we talked about last time - and much shorter. The goal is to draw attention to the most important work, not how much work you’ve done; or, as it is frequently labelled “quality over quantity”.


Create a separate tracker where you only record high-impact items. The items that go into the list should meet a certain quality bar and ideally support some of the claims you’d want to make in your performance review (e.g. “I’m great at reviewing pull requests” or “I’m great at reaching alignment with other teams”).

Most likely you’d want to update this tracker either “immediately” after doing something great, or during the weekly review of “all things you’ve done”. Both strategies are viable, and actually complement each other well.

Extra tip: the tracker should have different categories to bring evidence to different aspects of your work. Mine has the following: Impact, Pull Request Reviews, Organization Building, Mentorship.1

Extra tip 2: you might want to consider sharing it with your manager - to build shared context, provide more insight, and what you yourself think best represents your impact. Keeping it to yourself is also a valid strategy, if you’d want it to be a “private place” and not having to worry about “external expectations”.

  1. and actually a few more that I’ll reveal in the future posts - mentioning them by name won’t help, as they are not as self-explanatory as these. ↩︎

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