I'm a new project manager, and I have the authority to accept new employees who are still on probation. I'm assigning points to people in the following categories:

  1. Attitude
  2. Skills
  3. Teamwork

Is there anything else I should add?

Also, how can I measure attitude, skills, or teamwork? I'm still confused about how to make this decision.

  • 1
    What do you hope to achieve from this? Do you have to get rid of people or thin out your team? Also, how many new employees are you dealing with? How often do you need to do these types of reviews?
    – jmort253
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 4:32
  • i hope i can make a decission to people has been finish probation periode, but i'm still confuse how to make deal , i have one employee but in the future will be reqruit about 4 people , this is first time i have this problem.
    – viyancs
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 6:27

5 Answers 5


The criteria you will use for assessment depend on what you, as a boss, value, on what's for you, as a boss, important.

You may create a long list of them (communication, honesty, humor, transparency...) , but people will get confused, so I'd limit to few, like 5 or 7, choosing the most important for you.

In my opinion more important than a list itself, is what do you mean under each of these criteria, i.e. attitude. Think of providing some examples of behavior that you expect, to make sure that the person that will be assessed knows your expectations. For example for Attitude you may write: focuses on problems not people, is willing to hear other people's opinions and so on.

Make sure you introduce criteria before the probation period begins! Otherwise it doesn't make sense - it's like playing a game without rules and in the end someone tells you that you have lost.

My personal advice: if you feel confused while making the decision, it means it's wrong one. You may want to read those posts about gut feeling recruitment:

  • +1 for making clear the criteria when the process starts. I thought the same when read the question!
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 12:39
  • @bartejk thanks for your answer & your link suggestion it's help me alot.
    – viyancs
    Commented Aug 4, 2012 at 5:12
  • @viyancs good for you :) if you think that my post answered your question you may like to accept it with 'v' check. Commented Aug 11, 2012 at 20:18

Project Success is the Metric, All Else is a Proxy

Measuring skills or teamwork (whatever that actually means, assuming you can measure it at all) is really just a proxy for measuring whether someone is supporting the project and making a valuable contribution to the project's process. Even assuming that you're measuring something vaguely relevant (e.g. a person's level of expertise with database normalization on a data warehouse project), the only truly meaningful metric is whether that person is helping the project succeed.

People Staff Projects, but Measure the Project Instead

I'm going to take a different spin on this than the other answerers, and state that I believe a PM's perspective needs to remain focused on project metrics. To the extent that people staff projects, personnel management will matter, but be sure you use the right filter.

If your company has an HR department, involve them. Your metrics, however, should be driven by the project's needs. In an agile team, individuals are not measured separately; the entire team succeeds or fails as a whole. This is critical to the core concept of building successful, cross-functional teams.

So, I'd throw out your metrics and use something more measurable from a project perspective. Some examples (and I stress, these are only examples, although I use many of them myself) might be:

  1. Does the team's average velocity improve or decline when this person participates on a project?
  2. Does this person maintain commitments voluntarily made to the team, within the limitations of the team's process and subject to force majeure?
  3. Does the individual provide constructive work estimates within the expected variance for the team?
  4. Does the person provide clear feedback within the team's process?
  5. Does the person provide the team with visibility into their individual work processes?
  6. Does the person participate constructively in sprint reviews and retrospectives? (Note: "actively" and "constructively" aren't synonyms; quiet support of the process is valuable, too.)

Don't Forget to Evaluate Your Process

IT projects fail...a lot. One essay cites a study reporting a 62% overall failure rate for IT projects. Make sure you look at the project goals, its processes, and its management before assuming that the cause of failure must be the members of the project team.

  • I agree almost entirely with CodeGnome's answer above, but I would add one caveat. He points out that in Agile, teams are measured as a whole, and as a PM you should be concerned with how the team as a whole is doing. In addition to accessing the metrics he listed, you should also get the team's input. A good agile team will tell you bluntly whether or not they feel he/she contributed to the success of their sprints.. NOTE: I added this as an answer rather than a comment because I do not have enough rep to comment yet. Commented Aug 11, 2012 at 4:58
  • There are organizations where teams are evaluated and not individuals, and they haven't even heard about Agile. Personally, I feel that every good thing in team dynamics are connected with Agile, which is not completely true. +1 for @CodeGnome for the list, and thanks for mentioning Agile just once ;-)
    – Zsolt
    Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 7:56

Is the goal to remove the bottom 10%, 15% of those on probation or is this simply a process everyone goes through before becoming a full employee?

If the former, then you need measurable, hard criteria, not soft ones you listed. It needs to be tied to what they do, something you can count and measure, and then the bottom 10% gets whacked.

If the latter, then I would suggest you have NO criteria, and by that I mean no special criteria other than the same ones you use for all employees for year-end reviews. They have already passed your hiring criteria to get through the door, notwithstanding the extremely flawed interviewing process. To know whether a candidate is a total right fit is going to be more an art than a science. It's a 'you_know_when_you_know' kind of thing. And in some cases, their performance at task is good but they are simply not a fit in the culture, which sort of degrades their overall performance, right? Can you put a point to that? Maybe, but I suspect your gut will be screaming the answer more than a point will show.

But here is the risk you need to mitigate: your personal biases. These are very hard to control. And the more you think you are unbiased, the more you are. While you might be the final decision maker on this, you may want to use a panel approach, where two or three others also weigh in with their findings. This will help keep your biases checked.

EDIT: As I thought more about this, I think I need to mention the HR Department's perspective on things. You MUST check-in with them to learn what the formal things are you need to accomplish. Likely, you will have to conduct a formal employee review, just like the normal year-end reviews everyone else goes through, and rate the employee. HR will need documentation to support removing an employee. So while this might be a gut decision for you, your normal criteria for reviews will need to be used.


It is best to consult with the managers who have had the probationary resources working for them up to now. Presumably they will be the ones providing you with the ratings based on their experience with the resources to date. Be careful to ensure:

  1. All resources are evaluated on the same criteria. As David mentioned, your HR group may have policies/guidelines for these that you should follow.
  2. All managers rating the resources have a common understanding of these criteria. Again, your HR group should have this under control.
  3. All managers are giving at least approximately the same weighting to each of the criteria. More difficult to control here, there will always be some personal bias on what is most important. Ideally you will get input from more than one manager for each resource to help mitigate bias.
  • Doug, do you mean the functional managers as opposed to PM's?
    – jmort253
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 14:42
  • 1
    Both, depending on Viyancs corporate structure. PMs will give an idea of project performance and how well they play with others that they don't report to, but if you assume a resource spends time on business-as-usual/non-project work you may only get half the picture unless you talk to the functional unit manager.
    – Doug B
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 15:44

I commend your attempt to "objectify" the evaluation. Setting up the criteria improves the chance that you'll treat everyone fairly and reduce creeping bias.

I've got some misgivings about "attitude". I'm not sure I'd want to measure that. Any situation I can imagine in which I would mark a team member down for attitude would reflect negatively on teamwork and other attributes. You may wish to consult You Can’t Interview for Attitude. His style is a bit artificial and he definitely has an agenda, but I think it is a useful resource for job evaluations.

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