Impact Assessment

Why assessing impacts

As every growing company, we faced the problem of unbiased performance and rewarding mechanisms.

Each of us has different ambitions and expectations for our careers. With impact assessment, SparkFabrik is hopefully providing a map and a compass to everyone who wants to grow, step up and take over new roles and responsibilities.

How to assess your impact

Instead of putting numbers or quantitative goals on our heads, we evaluate our employees based on the impact they must have on the company's business1. The duties of each role are detailed based on the desired outcome, not as a set of tasks and procedures to put in place.

These outcomes are seen as important to business, context and company culture by the company governance and each of us is called to put his creativity, wit and experience to good use so that we can reach our goals together.

Each role has its impact assessment card, which lists all expected impacts and qualities that the role is expected to have.

For each point in the impact assessment card, you can mark out one of three possible values:

  • I still can't match the expectation: You feel you still can't jump the bar. Take a short note on how you think you can do better and let's discuss this in a one-to-one meeting with your HR
  • I deliver what's expected: You think you're a perfect fit, or can be a perfect fit if you're assessing yourself in a new role.
  • I exceed this expectation: You think you are doing (or you can do) more than expected. Take a short note so we can discuss this and award you your merits.

If you can't say or are confused, that's a sign you'd better talk to your responsible or an HR representative to better understand the meaning of the point and decide how you're doing on that.

When to assess your impacts

You can print an IAC every time you feel like it and go with a self-assessment. Because, why not?
Of course, there are moments when this is most valuable:

  • When you feel lost about your role and duties and want to check in on them to focus on what's important
  • When you think you are ready for a step up in your career, so you can take your self-assessment to the management so you can talk about your perceived strengths and weaknesses
  • When you ask for a raise, so you can sustain your request with a list of your positive impacts
  • Before one of the one-to-one meeting scheduled by the company

Self-assessment vs normal assessment

Maybe you don't feel like evaluating your own impacts by yourself. In that case, you can reach out to someone to evaluate your impact.

Who is best qualified really depends on the context: if you're a junior developer, getting feedback from your team leader or from a senior developer you are working with is ok.
If you are a long-time sparker with high-level duties, working as an architect on a project maybe talking to our CTO may be the best option.

Evaluating yourself

Being objective about ourselves is nearly impossible, but it's also true that nobody knows us better.

If you feel you had less or more impact than expected, try to come up with a tangible fact to support your feeling. If you can't, searching for your responsible feedback on that point can be very helpful.
If you feel you are stuck on something or you can't decide, ask yourself: "What is a single thing I can do to be better at that? What is a single thing I've done that if I didn't, would have made for a worse outcome?". This may help you calibrate your perception.

Being evaluated

Although other people may not always be objective in evaluating your impacts, it is important to sustain the conversation openly and get all the reasons behind each score. Even when it's difficult to take, honest feedback is the most valuable help you can get in your growth.
Different people will see you in different lights and from different perspectives. This is also food for thought and will help you nurture soft social skills, useful when you will become a team leader or a top manager.

If you feel you got an unfair assessment from your lead, you can have an HR representative review the evaluation with you and your lead in advance.

Evaluate someone else

It may be difficult and uncomfortable to give honest feedback. You may be tempted to be too soft, too rewarding, shy away from harsh topics, etc. Or, quite the opposite you may be in rage for something really bad that recently happened and be tempted to bash your colleague with a bad evaluation, calling off months of good work and wiping the slate clean.
Having to explain your reasons may help you be more objective. Should the conversation become difficult, try to explain to your assessee how they may succeed in the future instead of just pointing out how badly they failed. But don't sweep the dirt under the carpet. Remember that the reason you are providing feedback is to allow your mate to do a better job next time. Always trust they will.

1: Our model has been inspired by Deeson's one, which in turn is claimed to be borrowed from Stack Overflow in the first place. Credits go to both companies for the great catch on evaluating substance and not numbers. Thank you guys!

Last updated on 21 Apr 2023