Consider an IT company where annual Appraisal discussion is taking place between an employee (say Ravi) and his manager (say Mahesh)
Mahesh: Hello Ravi, how are you?
Ravi: Hi Mahesh, I am good. Thank you.
Mahesh: So shall we start?
Ravi: Yup (takes a deep breath).
Mahesh: So Ravi, let me start with thanking you for all your efforts during last 12 months. It was a challenging year for both, the company as well as the team. Although we acknowledge the various appreciations you got from customers worldwide but somewhere we feel you were not up to the mark.
Ravi: What? Not up to the mark? May I know which mark are you talking about?
Mahesh: See that’s not the point. The thing is you did not deliver a quality product.
Ravi: Mahesh, I delivered it on time and with minimum defects.
Mahesh: See you are accepting that there were defects.
Ravi: But when you write big and complex software that has more than 1.2 billion lines of code, it is bound to have few defects. What about our earlier releases, were they free of bugs? I joined the team when there were severe escalations from customer’s side. C-SAT (Customer Satisfaction Rating) was at all-time low. Within one year I managed to bring it to acceptable levels.
Mahesh: Now please don’t indulge in ‘what-about-ism’. Managing C-SAT is part of your job. But can you deny that QA found defects in your release?
Mahesh: Not only that, there has been high attrition in your team. This excellent coder Dabholkar put his papers, another guy Pansare resigned. An architect Kalburgi moved to sales. All these count as attrition.
Ravi: Dabholkar left even before I started managing the team and Pansare was in Testing team. That team doesn’t report to me. How are you attributing these resignations to me?
Mahesh: See, they might have their reasons but the fact is that they were not comfortable working in a team where some of your close friends are working.
Ravi: And what about Kalburgi? He was under mainframes and moved to sales, I have nothing to do with his career aspirations. Ask mainframes team why he left the team.
Mahesh: Do you see? You have excuse for everything. You never own up your mistake that is another thing which goes against you.
Ravi: But there have been resignations in past as well when Akash was the team lead whole team of 15 people resigned within a quarter. Why he got promotion after that?
Mahesh: Look, everyone around feels that your performance is going down.
Ravi: But tell me how you determine my performance is degrading. The number of defects was reduced by 5% in this release. Customer satisfaction has improved from below 5 to 7.5; we got 2 new deals from the same customer and will soon start working on the project.
Mahesh: The delivery manager, the account manager and even the HR believe that you are not delivering. Surely they have right to express their opinion.
Ravi: But they always have been against me. They even denied providing any type of help when we were under severe resource crunch. On what basis are they judging me? Surely they have motive against me.
Mahesh: Look, I cant dismiss their feedback as a motivated one. Even the Cigarette shop owner at the corner was expressing concern.
Ravi: What does that Cigarette shop owner knows about my project? I am a non-smoker; I don’t have any business to do with him.
Mahesh: That won’t change anything Ravi. Fact is they want you out of the project.