Archive for June, 2009

Core Competencies

June 26, 2009

As per Wikipedia definition, Core Competency is suggested as

A core competency can take various forms, including technical/subject 
matter know-how, a reliable process and/or close relationships with 
customers and suppliers.

This is very important for people who work in the IT industry since we are supposed to be knowledge-workers. At the end of day, what is the competency that we have with us? That is one question we need to keep asking ourselves. If we find a suitable answer that is attested by others, it means that we are able to provide value to the organization that we work for.

No matter where our work takes us – higher in the value-chain – we should always have a core competency that will keep us in demand. This is the differentiator that organizations look for, in associates, when they have to make choices.

When technical folks become Managers, they should still retain some of their characteristics (of course acquisition of new characteristics is implicity) so that they can go back when the going gets tough. Along with group output, there is an individual contribution that every organization (Manager) will expect. If there is none, it is very difficult to justify your position in the organization.

So, my suggestion to all the folks is to be clear of your USP – your unique expertise on one (or more) area of your choice.

Focus and excel is the key here.



June 4, 2009

Appraisals are very painful for all the stakeholders concerned – the appraiser as well as the appraisee. As I find myself in the shoes of both, I thought that there are some generic pointers that can help people do justice to their role.

What are you trying to do in an appraisal?

You are trying to

  • judge a person’s performance over a period of time (usually is six months or an year)
  • give feedback on what he has done so far (good or bad)
  • provide clarity on what he is expected to do in the next time-period

Lets get it clear – majority of the appraisees will fill their self-rating anything less than the highest. One of my friends remarked that the ones who dont know the process and how it works, will fill in the ratings lower than what they deserve.

Is it justified? How can one prove it?

Notes over the time-period mentioned will surely help – chronological order of tasks performed will provide enough information on the achievements of the appraiser. Similarly, the appraiser can also note instances in his diary. But, people are usually not so organized.

So, my suggestion is to list down the following during the chat between the two (the following is from the appraisee’s perspective):

  • What did I do? This is nothing but the various accomplishments in the last time-period.
  • How did I do what I did? Did I do a good job? Was I satisfied myself? Did I get a good response from my customer (can be the Project Manager or the Architect or the end-customer)
  • Did I do what I did on time? Did I meet (if not exceed) the expectations that were set by my Manager?
  • What did I do in addition to what I was told to do? This is important. If everyone can show that they have done that ‘bit extra’ in their daily work, that goes a long way in winning the customer’s heart and of course that only means repeat business. This is the difference between a Star and the others.
  • Why did I not do what I was asked to do it? There might be some tasks that were assigned but due to some reasons, one could not take it up. If there is a real genuine reason, do not feel afraid to speak it out.

Comparison of notes can happen then and one can then see where the gaps are.

It is not as smooth as it sounds but this will make things more clearer for the people concerned. Do let me know your thoughts and experiences of appraisals.

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