Getting hit with a performance improvement plan (otherwise known as a "PIP") is one of the worst things that can happen to you as a software engineer. This makes avoiding a performance improvement plan one of the most important things for you to do, especially in the currently layoff-rich economy.
Here's the core points from the video.
- Your performance review rating should never be a surprise: Regularly check in with your manager to figure out how you're trending to avoid the dreaded PIP.
- On top of asking for constructive feedback regularly, you shouldn't be afraid to ask every 2-3 months if you're on track to get the rating you want once the formal performance review happens. The clearest way this manifests is a hypothetical rating: "Would you give me at least a [Meets Expectations] for my performance so far?" This is the most powerful way you can stay in sync with your manager.
- Make it clear with your manager that you'll take any hypothetical rating with a grain of salt, so they're more comfortable giving it to you. If you're brave enough, you can even ask them to err towards the lower-end so you don't overset expectations.
- Keep your eye on the ball: Keep referencing the expectations plan you made at the beginning of the cycle and evolving it as necessary.
- Turn it up at the later end of the cycle. Humans have bad memory: It's unfair, but recency bias is huge. Try to land your bigger wins just a few weeks or months before the formal performance review process starts.