Assessing Performance Management Of Project Members Business Essay

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Performance Management is the integrated process by which an agency involves its employees in improving organizational effectiveness in the accomplishment of agency mission and strategic goals. Performance Management consists of performance planning, evaluating and monitoring employee performance, employee development, and employee recognition.

While proper attention to team building is critical during the early phases of a project, it is a continuous process. The project manager should continually monitor team functioning and performance to determine what corrective action might be needed to prevent or to correct various team problems. Leading people and teams during the project life cycle is necessary to ensure that the focus is kept on the project goal, that communication is sound and that an environment is created where people are motivated and enthusiastic about delivering results (Steyn at al, 2009).


Performance appraisal system describes how the agency will identify performance standards and core competencies and communicate them to employees. Periodical appraisal helps the company to measure employee's performance and to take apt decisions for further improvement. A structured business planning depends on the performance of the employee and it will be successful only when the employees are analyzing their work performance individually. The formal performance appraisal in a company is conducted annually for all staff and each staff member is appraised by their line manager.

Project Team

A project team can be defined as a group of people whose members usually belong to different groups, functions and are assigned to activities for the same project. A team can be divided into sub-teams according to need. Usually project teams are only used for a defined period of time. They are disbanded after the project is deemed complete.

Project life cycle

The term project lifecycle refers to the models how a project is planned, controlled, and monitored from its inception to its completion and close out.

Theoretical Model

Theoretical representations that simulate the behavior or activity of systems, processes or phenomena. This is an artificial scenario or condition developed to explain a relationship between observed natural phenomena of the object under study and actual behavior.


There are numerous models involved in the performance management. One such typical model is as follows:

Figure : Performance management model


Performance Management links people to performance and profit. It starts by understanding what success looks like for an organisation, and then ensures that everyone in an organisation works effectively to achieve that success. Performance measures such as uptime and absenteeism is noted by Besterfield [2003] to be one of the six basic concepts of Total quality management within a team or company (P3).

Three reasons for performance management:

Driving Results: - Purpose - to drive improvement in business results through individual, group, and enterprise goal alignment, measurement, performance coaching and performance information sharing. A performance management process intended to drive the achievement of key business results is typically designed to ensure that individual, group and enterprise goals and expectations are clearly defined, focused on key priorities, and well connected to the drivers of results. Formal and informal processes are used for identifying and communicating performance expectations and goals and ensuring goal alignment across group performance goals and measures are developed at several levels in the organisation. This is usually done with some balance between financial, operational and customer-based metrics.

Building Capability: - To drive organization and individual capability development by clarifying role-specific goals and competencies, establishing an environment of constructive feedback, and using formal developmental coaching/mentoring.

A performance management process intended to drive capability development is typically designed to help employees understand what they need to learn and how they need to learn it.

Employees are expected to be in a constant growth and learning mode, demonstrating organization and/or role-specific competencies; the bundles of skills, behaviors and knowledge that are critical to the organisation's ability to execute its business strategy. One of core values - management by fact - uses many types of date derived from business need and strategy. These data is used in performance management to benchmark against best practice or competitors. Analysis off this data support planning, reviewing overall performance, improving operations and change management. Coaching and mentoring programs and processes are used on a formal basis to provide employees with ongoing support as they develop and apply new competencies.

Growing Talent: - To motivate and retain high performers by providing career development programs encompassing motivational and reward strategies, challenging work assignments and other on-the-job learning initiatives that will lead to career advancement and ongoing job satisfaction.

A performance management process for identifying and rewarding talent is typically designed to yield a performance assessment that can easily be used to make decisions involving compensation, work assignments, career advancement and/or recognition. The way in which measures and goals are developed lends itself to differentiating individuals and/or groups.


Under a project set-up, this involves the following steps per deliverable: -

Identification of clear and measurable performance goals: This refers to establishment of objectives and key results areas.

Measurement of those performance goals to assess progress: This includes measuring performance, provision of intermediate feedback and conduction of progress review:

Provision of feedback and coaching on performance results: This includes addressing of poor performance and the support of good performance.

Use performance appraisal for human resources management decisions: This decision may result in rewarding for appropriate performance or sanctioning of poor performance.


Under a project set-up, there should be a project manager (s) and team members. Similar to the project manager's performance measurement the team members should also be given a performance appraisal by the manager to let employees understand and view their own performance that would set the foundation for promotions, salary increases as well as counseling of a team member (Besterfield et al, [2003]) this normally sets the tone for open discussion on the managers expectations from the team member or even the team in the case of team performance bonuses. Besterfiels et al, [2003]) emphasizes that one of the key factors of a successful appraisal is employee involvement. In practice the individual or team will set up the appraisal criteria themselves and get official agreement with the manager on the measuring scales and performance criteria. This will eliminate any confusion or company politics when the appraisals are done.

The following are the major influences on team performance: -

Stimulating and interesting work

Convincing and committed goals

Shared team objectives, values and ownership

Distributed leadership based on expertise and respect

Open information sharing

Participation in project development, definition and planning

Self-managed team and work effort

Flexible working conditions

Minimal "ceremony" and " politics"

Opportunity for experience and growth

Measured goals and objectives

Measured performance and recording of results

Acceptance of innovative and creative solutions

Emphasis on quality of performance

Emphasis on quality of product

Tracking and containment of cost and schedule

Solid team leadership and technical direction

Opportunity for challenge and discovery

Clear goals and performance expectations

Active encouragement of self-development

Contributions based on expertise, need and trust

Equal member status and position in the team

Good communication and interpersonal relationships

Authority and responsibility matched by reliability and accountability

Consistent sense of purpose and direction

Open cross-functional communications

Open access to process information

Group decision-making by consent

Visibility and recognition of accomplishments

Qualified and high-energy team colleagues

Processes and opportunity for team building

High work interest, involvement, energy, pride in achievement

Mutual support, trust and risk sharing

An attitude of continuous improvement

Processes for resource sharing

Processes for conflict resolution

Opportunity to stretch

High morale and team spirit

Recognition of accomplishments

The following barriers of high team performance exist and need to be highlighted:

Shortcomings in organisation

Constantly changing objectives

Unstable work environment

Poor communications

Insufficient resources and support

Inappropriate control attitude and structure

Insufficient reward, challenge or opportunity

Shortcomings in leadership

Inappropriate leadership style

Lack of appropriate leadership skills

Inability to create satisfying work environment

Confusion over roles and responsibilities

Unclear or inadequate direction

Lack of problem solving and conflict resolution

No risk sharing

No visibility, recognition nor reward

Shortcomings in people

Lack of trust in the leader

Conflicting objectives, views and personal agenda

Personal politics and power struggles

Weak administration

Lack of appropriate team skills, competence and commitment

Negative attitude to work, no sense of achievement

Prevalence of groupthink

Mistrust and misguided collusion

Inordinate fear of failure

Shortcomings in tools and techniques

Lack of corporate control

Lack of project sponsor responsibilities

Lack of appropriate project management policies and procedures

Lack of an over-arching project life span methodology

Unclear channels of communication

Lack of supporting systems for tracking and forecasting progress, schedule performance and costs

No plan for transfer of the care, custody and control of the product.


The commonly used modern tool for measuring performance is performance appraisal. Performance appraisal is commonly confused with performance management. Performance appraisal is a measurement method for performance management while as performance management itself is a cycle starting from an individual entry into an organization/project to point of exit.

Performance Appraisal

Setting goals for the appraisal system

Developing criteria for successful performance

Creating metrics for evaluating performance

Selecting reviewees and reviewers

Considering the timing of feedback

Organizing logistics for the report and meeting

Giving candid and constructive feedback

Following up to ensure that the system works

Attributes of a good appraisal system:

Recognize and record an employee's contributions

Give employees useful performance feedback

Enable a more effective and equitable reward system

Develop the professional capabilities of employees

Communicate the organization's values and culture

Help the organization make evidence-based, legally defensible personnel decisions

Uses of the appraisal system


Prediction of future performance based on past performance

Retention decisions and succession planning



Assessment for training and development

Career planning

Criteria for good appraisal system

Aligned with organizational goals

Relevant to given roles

Specific and measurable

Under employees' control

Understood and accepted by participants

Ratings in an appraisal system

Ratings can be the basis for:-

General or specific standards or expectations

Improvement on past performance

Rankings or comparison to others

Rating scales differ in terms of:

Definition of ratings

Number of possible ratings

Presence or absence of a midpoint

Types of rating scales

Graphic Rating Scales


Forced Distribution

Behaviourally Anchored Rating Scales (BARS)

Timing of appraisals:

Performance can be appraised:

After each project is completed

After a milestone is reached




Feedback in the appraisals:

Feedback reports can include:

Attributed ratings and comments

Anonymous ratings and comments

Statistics and comparisons

Weighted or un-weighted ratings by competency

By reviewer

Competencies necessary for advancement

Feedback is most useful when it is:

Candid and honest

Specific and actionable

Based on more than one incident or example

Based on more than one person's view

Framed positively and constructively

Behaviourally based rather than personality based

Summarized and integrated into key themes

Feedback meeting

Feedback meetings can include:

Discussion of Strengths and development needs


Team challenges and opportunities

Development and career planning

Goal setting for upcoming performance cycle

Upward feedback


Follow up for the individual can include:

A written development plan with goals, timelines and responsibilities

Progress reports

Additional meetings with manager

Training to build on strengths and address needs

"Stretch" assignments or rotations



Follow up for the organization/project:

Use aggregated ratings for gap analysis and needs assessment

Track performance appraisal statistics to measure the success of the management development system

Train new recruits and periodically retrain reviewers about how to evaluate reviewees and give useful feedback

Periodically survey reviewees and reviewers about the costs and benefits of the system

Ensure that the performance appraisal system is in alignment with evolving organizational and business goals

Advantages and disadvantages of appraisal system:


They provide a record of performance over a period of time.

They provide an opportunity for a manager to meet and discuss performance with an employee.

They provide the employee with feedback about their performance and how they completed their goals.

They provide an opportunity for an employee to discuss issues and to clarify expectations with their manager.

They offer an opportunity to think about the upcoming year and develop employee goals.

They can be motivational with the support of a good reward and compensation system.


If not done appropriately, can be a negative experience.

Are very time consuming, especially for a manager with many employees.

Are based on human assessment and are subject to rater errors and biases.

If not done right can be a complete waste of time.

Can be stressful for all involved.



The critical incidents for performance appraisal are a method in which the manager writes down positive and negative performance behaviour of employees throughout the performance period.

Critical incident method- Recording of events by appraiser.

An incident is critical when it illustrates what the employers has done or failed to do

Each employee will be evaluated as such and one's performance appraisal will be based on the logs that are put in the evaluation form.

The manager maintains logs on each employee, whereby he periodically records critical incidents of the workers behaviour.

At the end of the rating period, these recorded critical incidents are used in the evaluation of the workers' performance.

Disadvantages of critical Incident

This method suffers however from the following limitations:

Critical incidents technique of evaluation is applied to evaluate the performance of superiors rather than of peers of subordinates.

Negative incidents may be more noticeable than positive incidents.

It results in very close supervision which may not be liked by the employee.

The recording of incidents may be a chore for the manager concerned, who may be too busy or forget to do it.

The supervisors have a tendency to unload a series of complaints about incidents during an annual performance review session.


Definition of weighted checklist

This method describes a performance appraisal method where raters familiar with the jobs being evaluated prepared a large list of descriptive statements about effective and ineffective behaviour on jobs.

Process of weighted checklist

HR department and Managers / Supervisors will set up checklist for each position.

If the rater believes strongly that the employee possesses a particular listed trait, he checks the item; otherwise, he leaves the item blank.

Sample of weighted checklist

Does he give respect to his superiors? Yes/No

Does he follow instructions properly? Yes/No

Does he make mistakes frequently? Yes/No

The value of each question may be weighted equally or certain questions may be weighted more heavily than others

Advantages and disadvantages of weighted checklist

This method help the manager in evaluation of the performance of the employee.

The rater may be biased in distinguishing the positive and negative questions. He may assign biased weights to the questions.

This method also is expensive and time consuming.

It becomes difficult for the manager to assemble, analyze and weigh a number of statements about the employee's characteristics, contributions and behaviours.


Definition of paired comparison analysis

Paired comparison analysis is a good way of weighing up the relative importance of options.

A range of plausible options is listed. Each option is compared against each of the other options. The results are tallied and the option with the highest score is the preferred option.

Advantages and disadvantages of paired comparison analysis

It is useful where priorities are not clear.

It is particularly useful where you do not have objective data to base this on.

It helps you to set priorities where there are conflicting demands on your resources.

This makes it easy to choose the most important problem to solve, or select the solution that will give you the greatest advantage.


Definition of the rating scales

The Rating Scale is a form on which the manager simply checks off the employee's level of performance.

This is the oldest and most widely method used for performance appraisal.

The scales may specify five points, so a factor such as job knowledge might be rated 1 (poorly informed about work duties) to 5 (has complete mastery of all phases of the job).

Content of appraisal

Quantity of work. Volume of work under normal working conditions

Quality of work. Neatness, thoroughness and accuracy of work Knowledge of job.

Dependability. Conscientious, thorough, reliable, accurate, with respect to attendance, relief, lunch breaks, etc.

Attitude. Exhibits enthusiasm and cooperativeness on the job

Cooperation: willingness and ability to work with others to produce desired goals.

Rating scales

Rating scales can include 5 elements as follows:






Advantages of the rating scales

Graphic rating scales are less time consuming to develop.

They also allow for quantitative comparison.

Disadvantages of the rating scales

Different supervisors will use the same graphic scales in slightly different ways.

One way to get around the ambiguity inherent in graphic rating scales is to use behaviour based scales, in which specific work related behaviours are assessed.

More validity comparing workers ratings from a single supervisor than comparing two workers who were rated by different supervisors.


This method asked managers / supervisors to describe strengths and weaknesses of an employee's behaviour. Essay evaluation is a non-quantitative technique. This method usually use with the graphic rating scale method.

Input of information sources

Job knowledge and potential of the employee.

Employee's understanding of the company's programs, policies, objectives, etc.;

The employee's relations with co-workers and superiors;

The employee's general planning, organizing and controlling ability;

The attitudes and perceptions of the employee, in general.

Disadvantages of essay evaluation

Manager / supervisor may write a biased essay.

A busy rater may write the essay hurriedly without properly assessing the actual performance of the worker.

Apart from that, the rater may take a long time, and this becomes uneconomical from the view point of the firm, because the time of the rater is costly.

Some evaluators may be poor in writing essays on employee performance. Others may be superficial in explanation and use flowery language which may not reflect the actual performance of the employee.


This method used to describe a performance rating that focused on specific behaviours or sets as indicators of effective or ineffective performance.

It is a combination of the rating scale and critical incident techniques of employee performance evaluation.

Classification of behaviourally anchored rating scales:

Behavioural observation scales

Behavioural expectations scales

Numerically anchored rating scales

Rating scales

Each behaviour can rate at one of seven scales as follows (you can set scales depending on your requirements)

Extremely poor (1 points)

Poor (2 points)

Below average (3 points)

Average (4 points)

Above average (5 points)

Good (6 points)

Extremely good (7 points)

Advantages and disadvantages of behaviourally anchored rating scales:

This method are very useful and exactly.

It is very difficult to develop this method because you need to identify what is "good level" etc.


Ranking is a performance appraisal method that is used to evaluate employee performance from best to worst. Manager will compare an employee to another employee, rather than comparing each one to a standard measurement.

Rating scale of ranking

Much better - 5 points

Slightly better - 4 points

Equal - 3 points

Slightly worst - 2 points

Much worst - 1 point

Process of ranking

The scaled comparison asks a rater or evaluator to compare the performance of two individuals.

Continue comparison to other two employees.

Total points to each employee.

Give point to employee, for example: A is Slightly better - 4 points so that B is Slightly worst - 2 points.


MBO is a process in which managers / employees set objectives for the employee, periodically evaluate the performance, and reward according to the result. MBO focuses attention on what must be accomplished (goals) rather than how it is to be accomplished (methods).

Classification of Objectives

Corporate objectives

Functional objectives

Individual objectives

Conditions of Management by Objectives

An objective must be satisfied SMART conditions:




Relevant, and


Advantages of MBO

It is based on the assumption that the individual (employee) knows more than anyone else about her/his own capabilities, needs, strengths, weaknesses and goals. A further advantage of MBO is that the emphasis is on the future rather than on the past. Appraisal thus becomes a means to a constructive end.


The 360 Degree Feedback is a system or process in which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them.

Who should conduct 360 degree performance appraisal?



Managers (i.e. superior).

Team members.


Suppliers/ vendors.

Anyone who comes into contact with the employee and can provide valuable insights and information.

What's 360 degree measures?

360 degree measures behaviours and competencies.

360 degree addresses skills such as listening, planning, and goal-setting.

360 degree focuses on subjective areas such as teamwork, character, and leadership effectiveness.

360 degree provide feedback on how others perceive an employee.

360 degree appraisal has four components:

Self appraisal

Subordinate's appraisal

Peer appraisal.

Superior's appraisal


Forced ranking is a method of performance appraisal to rank employee but in order of forced distribution. For example, the distribution requested with 10 or 20 percent in the top category, 70 or 80 percent in the middle, and 10 percent in the bottom. The top-ranked employees are considered "high-potential" employees and are often targeted for a more rapid career and leadership development programs. In contrast, those ranked at the bottom are denied bonuses and pay increases. They may be given a probationary period to improve their performance.

Application of Forced Ranking

GE, Ford Motor, Conoco, Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems, EDS, Enron and a host of other U.S. corporations have adopted similar policies of this method

Advantages and disadvantages of forced Ranking


They force reluctant managers to make difficult decisions and identify the most and least talented members of the work group.

They create and sustain a high performance culture in which the workforce continuously improves.


They increase unhealthy cut-throat competitiveness;

They discourage collaboration and teamwork;

They harm morale;

They are legally suspect giving rise to age discrimination cases.


Behavioural Observation Scales is frequency rating of critical incidents that worker has performed. The BOS was developed by Latham & Wexley (1977) who believed that both graphic rating scales and BARS require supervisors to make vague judgments. The BOS is a list of critical incidents behaviours which the supervisor has to rate in terms of frequency.


We use 5 scales as follows to identify frequency of behaviour.







Items indicate either desired or undesired aspects of work performance, for examples:

Worker misses workdays ________

Worker never needs her/his work to be double checked _______


Halo Effect

Halo effect occurs when a rater attaches too much significance to a single factor of performance and gives similar ratings on other performance elements. Thus overall evaluation is significantly influenced by a single factor. Such a perception undermines the importance of other elements and leads to an unbalanced performance assessment of the individual. For example a manager rates a worker very high on quality because of her immaculate attention to details and lack of defects in her work. Then assuming the individual to be an overall high performer based on the quality of her work output, the manager rates her very high on efficiency, responsibility, punctuality, etc. without taking an objective look at her performance in these areas.

Strictness, Leniency and Central Tendency Bias

People differ in their tendency to evaluate people or performance. Some supervisors are very strict or conservative in their ratings and generally give low scores in their evaluations. This tendency may make high performers attain somewhat average ranking and average performers appear as poor performers. Raters with such tendency are known to have a strictness bias.

On the other hand, some supervisors demonstrate a leniency bias and rate their subordinates very liberally which may make even average performers seem like star performers, attaining very high performance scores.

And yet, others "play safe" by rating around the golden mean - the average. This may be done to avoid the necessity to justify scoring across the two extremes as some systems expect managers to specify additional comments as they give too high or too low ratings to employees. This rating error is known as the central tendency bias.

Recency Bias

Performance appraisal involves assessment of employee performance for a specific period - quarterly, annually etc. People may not perform uniformly throughout that period. We all face highs and lows and demonstrate variance in performance due to numerous factors. It is therefore very important to review performance demonstrated throughout the period under consideration. Often however, recent events tend to overshadow the overall performance. People do have "short memories". Thus a person who has worked very hard and excelled throughout the year, but for some inadvertent reasons had faced performance issues in the last weeks or month may at times get a poor appraisal from the supervisor, showing a recency bias.

Contrast Effect

When supervisors rate employees one after another, rating of an exceptional performer or a very poor performer could affect the subsequent ratings of other individual(s). This phenomenon is known as the contrast effect. For example, let's suppose that a supervisor has just rated an outstanding performer and is now evaluating an individual who is also a good performer but there seems to be a contrasting difference between the abilities and output of the two individuals. This significant difference in performance or employee competencies could lead the supervisor to rating the second individual as an average performer.

Personal Bias

Personal beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, experiences, preferences and lack of understanding about a person, class or a phenomenon can lead to an unfair evaluation which is off from reality. We all suffer from these shortcomings, consciously or unconsciously, while making everyday judgments about people, things, events etc.

It is especially important to be aware and sensitive to possible biases, prejudices and stereotypes while making judgments about employee performance. While many of the prejudices operate covertly and unconsciously, others strike us through conscious thoughts and feelings. Understanding common biases and being on guard while appraising can significantly raise the objectivity of the evaluation process.

Examples of personal bias include a bias against a race, ethnicity, religion, age, sex, or assuming that certain type or class of people are not suitable to perform a specific job or function etc. If you believe for instance, that women are emotional and men are rational, then chances are that you would not employ a female worker for a role that involves making objective decisions. Similarly, an assumption that young workers are faster and more efficient than old workers would make it more probable to give a higher efficiency rating to a younger worker than an old worker.

How errors can be reduced in appraisals.

Train raters to understand the evaluation process rationale and recognise sources of measurement errors

Make sure raters observe ratees on an ongoing, regular basis and that they do not try to limit evaluations to designated evaluation periods

Do not have one rater rate too many ratees; ability to identify performance differences drops and fatigue sets in when large numbers are involved

Make sure performance dimensions and standards are stated clearly avoid terms such as "average" because different raters react differently to such terms.

Besterfield et al, [2003] listed some improvement suggestions on performance appraisals based on research done by some other practitioners. These improvements can be summarized as follow:

The rating scales used should be kept simple and have only a few rating categories

The appraisal should consider teamwork as well as individual performance, on a equal weighting basis.

Future performance planning requires more frequent reviews.

Promotion decisions should not be based on performance appraisals alone but should include a independent administrative process.

The appraisal should include external customer satisfaction ratings.

Subordinate and peer reviews forms the basis for internal customer ratings.

Include a section on implementation behavior to process improvements.


We have finally managed to find it out through our study in the performance management system that, it is possible to get all employees to reconcile personal goals with organizational goals. One can turn around any marginal business and increase productivity and profitability for any organization, with the transparent and hidden forces embedded in this process. It can be applied by organizations or a single department or section inside an organization, as well as an individual person or within a project structure.

The process is a natural, self-inspired performance process and are appropriately named the self-propelled performance process (SPPP).