I need to create my own performance goals and have them approved by my manager. They will be reviewed at the end of the year. What are some measurable performance goals that others have used? It is my first year, so I can't compare my performance to last year.


Depends on your issue tracking system as well.

  1. Can you show that issues that were addressed did not re-occur?

  2. Can you show that you were able to keep your assigned work on schedule?

  3. Can you show any quality statistics as far as how many defects were reported in your projects in the first month or 2 after releasing to QA or whatever your process is?

  4. Maybe, can you point to some process improvements you have made that will help the company down the road such as more unit tests, code coverage, continuous integration.

Be an example in your company of what can be done if it is not being done already.

Best of luck


That's a really difficult thing to do. It's like asking a chef if his food tastes better than last year.

Lines of Code doesn't work, please don't let anybody try that one on you.

Maybe you could list new technologies you want to learn, that's somewhat measurable if you get a certification or put something new into production using a new language.

Number of bugs caused/fixed? That's not so good either, because the circumstances are probably out of your control.

This is a subjective evaluation that a dev lead has to make.

  1. Goal: consistently make predictions about the amount of Concentrated Effort Hours it will take you to solve a problem.
  2. Goal: consistently keep track of how much Concentrated Effort Hours it actually took you to solve the problem.
  3. Goal: make improvements on how accurate your Concentrated Effort Hours estimates actually are.
  4. Goal: review all of your code changes with a peer or two, and document that the reviews occurred.

For the first few goals, I'd use something like Process Dashboard if you have no budget, or Rally (strong preference) if you have a budget. For the last goal, I'd try to convince your company to get Code Collaborator, which is awesome.


Here is some of the "targets" that I have used in my yearly reviews:

  • Read at least X technical books during the year.
  • Attend at least one conference in my field.
  • Complete at least one training course in area I think I'm weak in.
  • Contribute a new tool to the team library that improves or simplifies the existing workflow
  • Introduce at least one new up and coming "technology" and become the technical lead on that service

Anything that gives you more experience, more knowledge and a fresh perspective can only help but make you a better software engineer.


It's a challenge to come up with good objectives because they have to be specific enough to say whether you achieved them or not (i.e. the SMART acronym - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely), but not so specific that you're risking shooting yourself in the foot. Make sure you control as many of the variables as possible. E.g. "Product XYZ 1.0 will ship by April 1st" is bad because there are a lot of things that could happen that are not your fault that could cause the schedule to slip.

One source of goals should be your job description. As a minimum, you should be performing the tasks that are described there.

Another source will be general process improvements in your department, as bhinks suggested. Remember, if this is a performance evaluation you want to show not only that you are doing your job, but you are performing beyond your normal job requirements.


When you are shooting from the hip and don't have a solid idea of what you will be doing throughout the year you can use some generic ones that are still measurable...

  • Continue to advance skill set
  • Manage projects and tasks in a timely manner
  • Meet delivery deadlines within the timeframes negotiated
  • Complete timesheets in a timely manner
  • Be responsive to client/customer needs
  • Support other team members

Be sure to word your goals in a SMART way when possible...

  • Specific: States what you will do
  • Measurable: There is a ?built-in? way in which you and others will be able to see progress
  • Attainable: Not impossible; not in search of perfection but is something that could be accomplished
  • Results-Oriented: Focused on an outcome
  • Timely: Is needed at this time

It is a good idea to keep a project file of your own where you can write down projects that you complete throughout the year. Come review time you can whip that out to help you remember what you have accomplished.


I think it really depends on your company or organization. When I started at my current job, things were extremely loosely managed. Some of my goals where things like:

"Assist in the implementation of a service request ticketing system within X months."

"Develop and document a standard method for unit testing during the evaluation period."

I was able to turn the short-comings of the organization into measurable goals. I also set some personal communication goals, which included attending user-group meetings. I specified how many of those meetings I wanted to attend during the evaluation period so I could measure that goal.

I'm sure that you work somewhere very different, but I hope that helps.

Eric's suggestion is also very good. Professional development goals are usually pretty easy to set, just make sure it's something that can be measured or documented.


It's easy to create SMART personal development goals around attendance at training, community events, or relevant certifications. Not exactly related to the work you're doing, but it's a good way to demonstrate initiative in your own growth.

Also, if you have the opportunity you might consider having one of your goals to establish a mentee relationship with somebody else who's been at the company a while.


I think there's two separate issues: 1. Your personal Growth 2. Your manager's / orgs business impact / values

If you do the coolest things, but your manager / org don't value it, or you can't show and tell it, you take a hit.

For your personal performance, I recommend reviewing my "improvement frame" as a sanity check. See Improvement Frame You can make measureable goals around that.

Your personal growth will make you the most valuable in the long run.

For measurable goals that your manger/org will care about, find out the business case for your group. Figure out how big the pie is and what your slice is. If you can show how your work directly impacts the pie, that's the most concrete way of showing your impact. You don't want the scenario where you do a ton of great things, only to find out that "you didn't impact the business" or that there was a mismatch between your values and what your manager/team values.