Review Questions

Recently we’ve gone through our annual review process here at Insomniac. I wanted to share a bit about my process this year.

In the past, my own review process felt a little unstructured and mostly focused on the individual tasks accomplished through the year. While that has had value, I didn’t feel like it really captured the whole picture. It’s especially important to me to focus on the growth of our Core team here as creative professionals. And I really want to make sure that I stay focused on that over time, too.

I have these 15 questions that I want to answer for every person on the team:
1. What did I see as your Super Power this year?
2. What do I think your top accomplishments were this year?
3. How do I think you have grown the most this year?
4. What is the biggest idea I think you have inspired this year?
5. How do I think you have improved or served the team this year?
6. How do I think you have improved or served production this year?
7. What do I think is the biggest difference you have made this year?
8. What do I think are the biggest problems you have solved this year?
9. What do I think are the best risks you have taken this year?
10. How do I think you have made Insomniac a better place to work this year?
11. What do I think the biggest challenges you have overcome this year?
12. How do I think you have inspired others this year?
13. How do I think you have best demonstrated your passions this year?
14. How do I think you have embodied our vision this year?
15. How do you stack up?

My process has been:
-> First, I answer these questions (as honestly and straightforwardly as I can) about each person on the team.
-> Then I do interviews in person about other members of the team. Basically, I sit down and ask different people on the team to answer the questions above about a peer, or peers. (Between 1 and 3 others.) Doing this face-to-face has really been the only effective way. It becomes a conversation and it doesn’t have the same barrier to entry as asking someone to write up a review. I just take lots of notes.
-> Now, the above together give me a fairly coherent picture of each person’s year and at that point I combine them into review text.
-> Some people have also answered the above questions for themselves. I think that gives a good chance to reflect.

I prefer this process a lot. It’s something I can do enthusiastically instead of grudgingly. The questions help me to get closer to the heart of how we can best build on each person’s strengths for the new year. They give some structure to the conversation and force me in particular to remember each area of impact. But most valuable are theinterviews with the team. Inevitably, even where questions seem similar, just the slight variation jogs a memory or helps them to make a connection. It’s definitely led to some great feedback and hopefully, as I push all that back to the individual, gives them perspective on how they can grow as an individual/professional.

My questions to you:
-> What methods have you used in your review process that you’ve really liked, or that you’ve thought were really super effective?
-> Or, what things have your leads done now or in the past that have really helped you reflect or grow in your reviews?


PS: You can follow me @mike_acton on Twitter.