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At Microsoft, we have a performance review twice a year to ensure we're on track towards meeting the goals that we set up at the beginning of the year with our manager. I've been a manager multiple times in my career, so I've been on both sides of the table during this review.
The results of a review shouldn't come as a surprise to either party. If, that is, you've been communicating to your boss on a regular basis about the tactical things you're doing that lead to the strategy of fulfilling the goals. But how do you track what you're up to, and how do you communicate them to your boss?
If you're like me, you have several "project-level" assignments, meaning that you have lots of things to track.
(Not everything is a project or requires this amount of tracking, so this isn't for every work item, obviously)
I work with hundreds of people and dozens of teams here at Microsoft, and so my day can get very randomized if I'm not careful. To help keep me on track, and my boss informed, and to provide a paper-trail of my activities for review time, I use Microsoft Outlook Tasks. Here's why I do that:
Here's my process:
Using this process, there are no surprises at review time We've both been kept in the loop, even if my boss is remote or I work remote. And everyone on the teams knows about the project and where my part of it is at. I can't tell you how many times this has been useful - but it's been so popular I was asked to write this post. :)
Here's a sample task layout (click for detail)
And here's a fake status update (click for detail):
thanks this is useful
I like the approach to use the tools you already have but I was wondering if the 1 project = 1 task isn't to straightforward? Do you handle complex projects with multiple collaborators the same way?
No, for group projects we use Microsoft Project (which integrates with Outlook Tasks) - these are for my own projects.
To tag on, I get many action items from inbound email messages. I simply drag those "action" messages onto Tasks which creates a new task and adds the email message body to the task body. Often I don't have to modify anything in the task created with the exception of the start and end date. I too review these items on a daily basis.
Cool! Me too, and for awhile I had a tablet and PlanPlus add on that made Outlook tasks work in the Covey system.