Are you preparing for your annual performance review? Are you wondering what kind of conversation you should have with your manager about what you accomplished this year and your career goals for the coming year?
Your annual performance review can be a good time to step back and look at the big picture of your career. It’s often the ideal time to get your manager’s feedback on your skills and solicit support for the following year’s professional development opportunities.
What follows is my strategy for preparing for a performance review meeting, which will help you solicit feedback from your manager and have an open conversation about your career development.
Step 1. Conduct a Self-Review
Take some time to reflect back on your year. What were the highlights and lowlights? What are you especially proud to have accomplished? Looking back over your business analyst experiences can help you see how far you’ve come during the year. It can also help pull together what might seem like scattered experiences into a common theme, helping you identify how to move forward.
If you had performance goals for last year, completing a preliminary self-reviewwill help you prepare for the conversation with your manager about your year’s performance. Most managers will ask you to submit this in writing anyway.
One mistake I see many business analysts make is to focus just one what they did that was “special.” In reality, oftentimes our best work and accomplishments stands out in our fundamental responsibilities. Keeping a project journal can really help make this task easier each year.
Step 2. Identify Questions to Ask During Your Performance Review
Just like a job interview, a performance review should not be a 1-way conversation. Your manager will probably have some questions for you about your career goals in addition to their feedback about your performance. Also prepare some questions to identify what’s going on in your organization as often changes and improvements can lead to new professional development opportunities.
Here are some questions you could ask:
- What are the organization’s key priorities this year?
- What changes will our team / department face this year?
- How can I best contribute to these priorities or changes?
- What resources will be available to me to grow professionally?
- Where would you most like me to improve this year?
Step 3: Prepare an Initial Set of Performance Goals
As you look forward to the coming year, what will you accomplish? How will you invest your time and energy to support your employer and grow your career? You’ll find the most fruitful opportunities in the intersection between your business analyst goals and your employer’s key objectives.
As you think about your goals for the coming year, consider what support you need from your manager to achieve them.
- Do you need business analyst training? And, if so, what’s the budget and timeline? Often manager’s have at least some funds allocated towards training and you may be able to influence where and how they get invested.
- Will you need to be assigned to new types of projects to stretch or hone a specific type of skill? If so, now is the time to put that request in and lay the groundwork for getting assigned to the right kinds of projects.
- Do you need direct support from a coach or a mentor? If so, ask your manager if they’d be willing to mentor or coach you or if there is someone else in your organization available for mentoring.
A little preparation can go a long way to turn what might feel like a tense discussion into a collaborative conversation. Remember, this is your career and your performance review. Your company stands to benefit just as much as you do from your improved performance.
>>Create Your Professional Development Plan
Looking for more support in creating a professional development plan? Professional Development for Business Analysts walks you through how to identify, set, and achieve meaningful career goals to move your business analysis career forward.