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Course Introduction: The Ultimate Guide To Navigating A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

You’ve probably heard about a PIP, a Performance Improvement Plan. You might be in danger of one, you’re going through one right now, or you’re about to join a company with a widespread PIP culture.

There’s no getting around it: PIPs are scary. Receiving a PIP means that there is a perceived deficiency in your performance, and something needs to change. It’s obvious why you might feel tremendous anxiety or fear around a PIP: your job is at stake.

Simply put, a PIP is one of the most stressful things you can go through as a tech employee

A quick online search reveals tons of discussion in forums about PIPs. It’s easy to get the impression that a PIP is a hopeless situation, and anyone who is unfortunate enough to receive one should simply give up. This is simply not true: whether you’re on a PIP or not, there is a path forward.

The objective for this course is to provide a structured way for you to identify what you can (and should) do to get the best outcome for yourself.

I’m Rahul, the course instructor. I’ve been an engineer at various-sized companies for a decade before I left to start Taro. I was an Engineering Manager and Staff Engineer at Meta (Facebook for the OGs), and before that I worked on Android at Pinterest. I graduated from Stanford with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Science, and my first job after graduation was founding engineer at a failed startup. 

In researching this course, I talked to dozens of engineers who have received PIPs, along with several managers who have delivered PIPs to their reports. You’ll hear some of their stories in the section dedicated to case studies (from companies like Amazon, Meta, Pinterest, MassMutual, and MongoDB). What became clear from chatting with so many employees is (1) there’s far too much stigma around a PIP and (2) there’s not enough support for people who have received one. This course aims to change that.

In addition, we’ve combined our own personal experience with dozens of hours of online research (we mostly ignored anonymous trolls in forums…).

I’ll occasionally refer to engineers throughout this course, but pretty much all the content is applicable to any type of tech worker (Product Manager, Data Scientist, Designer, etc). Software Engineers are not the only job function that must deal with a PIP!

Final note: my goal with this course it to be hyper-practical; this should be useful to you. I’ll be sharing best practices that have worked for many tech workers, but we can’t cover exact details across all companies in all geographies. I’m not an employment lawyer and I have never worked in Human Resources. You may want to get consultative help if your situation is unique. 

Connect with Rahul:

Read more about PIPs: