Software Engineer Performance Review: Key Practices

Software Engineer Performance Review: Key Practices

Performance reviews can be a valuable tool for boosting employee engagement and helping them grow in their careers, but they can be challenging to conduct effectively in highly technical fields like software engineering. 

To conduct a thorough performance review that genuinely brings value to the person, you will need more nuanced approaches than just relying on general performance review templates. 

Our software engineer performance review article provides easy-to-follow practices that will help you conduct performance reviews with quality and with minor tweaks. 

These steps will help you create and execute reviews for other technical roles in your organization as well. Let’s get in!

#1 Use a customizable template

Make a software performance review with Plai

Instead of staring at a blank page, wondering where to start, you should use performance review software such as Peoplelogic to get customizable templates. That way, you will immediately have some important areas you should focus on, which will steer your thoughts in the right direction and give you more nuanced ideas that will fit your company in particular. 

#2 Set clear expectations

Now that you have a template setting a clear goal and asking yourself what you want to achieve with the software engineer performance review is crucial. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Reflect on past performance: This is the most obvious part of the process and should contain metrics that will show how the software engineer's performance compared to the target goals and how they performed against the average employee working in that position.
  • Re-align company goals: Performance reviews are an excellent place to remind engineers about the organization's goals and company values and suggest what they can do to align their personal success with them.
  • Address concerns: While performance reviews focus on the individual performance of the engineer, they can also provide an opportunity for them to express their opinion about difficulties they might be facing during sprints.
  • Provide a professional growth path: The main goal of performance reviews is to help each team member fix their mistakes and double down on what they already do. After they read it, they should know what steps they can take to further their career.

#3 Encourage self-review

Encourage self-review of software engineers with Plai

Self-reviews are an excellent tool in the review process that will help employees take ownership of their professional development instead of waiting for peer reviews or direct reports from their managers.

However, self-reviews can be tricky, as employees often need help knowing where to start in their software developer performance review. To help them, it is a good idea to give them guidelines and ask some open-ended questions to steer their mind in the right direction:

  • What was my most significant accomplishment in the performance evaluation period?
  • Are there any programming languages and technical skills I can work on improving that will positively affect my future performance?
  • How well did I prioritize tasks and meet deadlines during sprints?

#4 Use a fair and objective evaluation method

Use a fair and objective evaluation method

When doing performance evaluations of software engineers, it's essential to consider several metrics. Don't only rely on easily measurable things such as the number of lines of code written, tickets and bugs resolved or tasks cleared from the kanban. 

Things such as willingness to help colleagues, communication, adaptability and problem-solving all play a huge role in software development teams. 

Remember to use the same metrics for each person in the same position to avoid discrimination and perform fair performance reviews.

#5 Provide constructive feedback

Software engineers are generally very logical, meaning they will want to hear concrete steps they should take to improve their performance. Here are some ideas:

  • While you write clean code, sometimes there are duplicate lines, which you can easily fix by refactoring.
  • You are our stand-out performer and a true leader by example, but it would be nice if you also mentor younger colleagues and explain how things get done.
  • While you do meet project deadlines overall, you tend to get stuck on certain tasks that affect your productivity – it would be a good idea to limit the time you spend on each of your assignments.

#6 Follow up

Schedule follow-ups to ensure your software engineers consider the performance review and implement the feedback

Schedule follow-ups to ensure your software engineers consider the performance review and implement the feedback. For example, set quarterly follow-ups if you have a 6-month performance management cycle. By providing continuous feedback, you will help the team stay on track and give them more milestones to keep them going forward between reviews.


As you can see, conducting effective software engineer performance reviews can be pretty simple if you set clear goals, and especially if you have a handy HR performance software to help you through the process.

Peoplelogic simplifies performance management in software development companies and is loved by hundreds of clients worldwide for its clean interface and powerful features. Book a free demo now, and see how Peoplelogic can help your software development team step up their game based on detailed performance reviews you regularly conduct.

Andrii Bas

Andrii Bas

Product Strategist, People & Performance

Founder of 3 products and product development agency @Uptech before 25. Use and consult about OKRs, performance management, and team leadership for 4+ years.

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