Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Atom 45: What's wrong with the Appraisal System?

Baffled and Wonder-struck one more time!
Is Appraisal a healthy system? Is Appraisal really helping you out? Is it just a gimmick practice?

Mostly appraisal system is equipped to have Goals, Measurement or Metric Values, Comments or Your say and which is over-checked by a senior official either rated or remarked. There could be minor deviations with the way its handled or structured, but at a high-level it is just a mere grumble box!

An appraisal system is a measure to help oneself to exceed or match benchmarks when the experience grows with it - or when results are looked at either as in numbers, money or by quality standards. In dictionary terms "an act of estimating or judging the nature or value of something or someone", but in true nature we been second guessing or interpreting someone's act in a short span of time. This is highly linked to short-term association vs. long time association with a superior or evaluator. I say, we been interpreting since it always does not mean, How truly the person had delivered his/her responsibility. Why so?

The real conundrum of Evaluator vs Doer -

1. The evaluator will look for patterns to conclude on the estimation part (which by far means is subjective - where 5 good deeds vs 1 bad deed vs 2 normal deed = Nothing but just interpretation)
2. The evaluator looks towards relationship and personal reflection by which it means somewhere evaluator may turn little softened by any one bad deed vs other good deeds.
3. Evaluator may not be in a position to completely understand an individual (except for a long standing association) - since the knowledge area of a doer is well less understood in different circumstances - which really needs time and once again guided by patterns
4. A passing Evaluator is no more a great fillip to the process - looks to me as a "bystander" who may or may not get to see the real value or may blow smaller mistakes to larger proportions, Worse case when the evaluator is less knowledgeable to understand the Doer's subject but alternatively seeks only what the project had requirements lead to
5. A Doer just who wants to win the Evaluator score - can easily manipulate or deceive own intentions, acts or qualities - which by means is self-defeating
6. An experience Doer can be easily dissatisfied with understanding relation status with Evaluator and stop performing after a threshold - also can get to a stand-still if not the task means to be regular or less challenging

In all, its highly complex to state the system never is a true picture of Evaluator or Doer by just like "Life is a stage, where men and women are actors"  in lines of Shakespeare - all boils to mere traumatic rat-race scene. Its a trash-bin if the system just makes the Doer [feel like] ordinary or extraordinary [not a true-self projection], It may also see that relationship building is all that makes one to stay afloat or one-time achievers banner may re-surface in multiple roles or projects.

If the system itself behaves a passing cloud, nowhere anybody would like to trick the system - atleast humans by good-will! A true building system should be instead modeled to help the "Doer" be in commanding position when in need. It simply means - Drop the Goal business and move to "Action" setting; Stop Measuring and move to "Scores"; Stop Commenting and move to "Guides".

It looks like this -
Applying Gamification mildly on this new appraisal system where
1. Action setting - leads to simply check-list that lays a roadmap (Something if you were a designer - hands on a new tool vs. Something if you were a CEO - to win a new business in new market) with easy scores laid on it - If you act on it, you get a score - anybody can read it or cross-lay it with past events [Goal setting is more of "What is in future" - simply Action is "What is now" - Pick a Scorecard any moment, any day and willfully change your patterns or learning to suit the context]
2. Measure Me is just a goof; with all said above and more - Nobody can measure unless oneself measures truly their own abilities [agreed, feedback from opponent end helps -but only if you do agree - its in oneself-own hands], If Action is true - You get a score - You deserve where you need to be, rather to measure anybody on 1 good deed or 5 bad deeds, If you succeed with your action - You win or lose or make second attempt. Ultimately all your scores of your behavior, skills, learning & investment are mapped sequentially and is a portable process even you move from Project "A" to Project "Z".
3. Comments once again may stand True, Neutral, False, Absurd and only if you agree it as a Doer. Guides are set to help to bring viewpoints when the scores toppled or Action's have not been streamlined or completed. It should provide chances, excuses and be transparent to ideally except Human tend to make mistakes [Guessed So - If you need to have a healthy Score - you would have a clean slate and cut noises] - Guides also should seek to see the crest and trough of individual, What If - You been a great performer, and fell to dismal caves of sheer external environment or act and came back to the zenith - Its a measure that is commendable! Now where are all these qualities or Guides that make you keep tracking or aiding when the chips are down.

Appraisal should atleast benefit the Doer to carry the case and see the strength and performance guide with a sheer reflection as a mirror, but not like a morning fog! Evaluator should value the Doer and be a "Traffic-constable" to realize, lead, prune or guide the Doer on any day. Its the Doer's score and life, and Evaluator should be proud to make Doer to Do his acts - leave alone to measure oneself by themselves and compare where in a day they stand and where they are heading to.

All organization build Appraisal System as a measure to drive a system to improvise the Org, wherein the real need is to improve Individuals who will be tactical and strategical point of source - where the "self" needs to be made larger than the "Organization", We need to run systems willingly against the poor vice-versa mechanism!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Atom 44: Stuck Passively?

Its been some time now rather more than 5 years that treading through the UX domain - plethora of changes had swiftly changed the way we adopt,engage and deliver goods. I remember where it was more of one device that we been looked to address upon with a less noises to turn around! In an evolving and rapid ever growing technology field - You been standing still? or Moved a little?, Guess Quick; need to cover up the miles before left in obsolete.

But I am not talking about survival now, but a revival in stake. With devices just thrown in like a toy-store, designer have lots to think and rather play with it - never I would think it was exciting as now! I rather believe its upping as a trend - where soon digital life will be part of your self in a decade's time. Once again - when such a rapid stage shakes you up, now and then, Would all your processes, frameworks and methodologies need to just be static? One of it, Delivering Wireframes or Prototypes!

We highly bank on HTML to show us interface behavior of micro-interactions and details. Now we need to think of cross-channel devices or atleast one-to-many devices. But always showcasing design through Static Prototype is pretty slicing all your abilities by half. It never means, we made our best effort to think in three states or few desirable states of transition - but rather chosen a way to replicate the static flows in multiple diagrams. Limited exploration of certain tools like Axure, Powerpoint, Fireworks, Flash and few other open source tools showcase interaction flow, rather no straight foward approach! But, it never been so lucid and easy or natural to create an Active Prototype or a perfect tool to create rich interfaces in blink of an eye! Interactive Prototyping has covered basic flows, manageable task but not encased rich interactive flows seamlessly - Imagine a way to discover powerful interaction flow that has got myriad ways to be creative.

Its high time where things are getting highly demanding, exploding & enticing to get on with Active Prototyping bandwagon, and if so been Stuck Passively with the non-interactive modes. Its never meaningful to be unnatural messing around with static tools (even with inclusion of tools like Axure), when time is ripe to use, explore and deliver with a far better tool like Muse, Proto.io, Indigo Studio (newest to arrive). Active Prototyping will correlate with the need to stand with expectations of rich design and to capture micro-interactions - which ideally helps project members, client and design community. But is this enough, a marriage between Powerpoint animation techniques that when overlaps with interaction software is a greater bet, which is just intuitive and easy.