A report on
The Big Experiment with Performance Review
Atlassian is a software company based in Sydney, Australia which makes business enterprise software, targeted at software developers. Atlassian was founded in Sydney in 2002 by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, who met while studying at the University of New South Wales.
The company made $59 million in revenue in 2011, is on a $100 million run rate for the current fiscal year and has 26,000 customers globally. It now also has offices in San Francisco, Amsterdam and Tokyo.
The company was self-funded for many years, starting with a $10,000 credit card taken out by the founders, but in July 2010 it raised its first institutional funding ($60 million in venture capital from Accel Partners).
Atlassian bought Bitbucket, a web-based hosting service for projects that use both the Mercurial and the Gitrevision control system on 29 September 2010. On June 24, 2011, Atlassian announced its first big investment in another company (Cloud9, a SaaS-based IDE platform) followed by acquisition of SourceTree, a Git and Mercurial distributed version control system client for Mac on 6 October 2011.
The Atlassian provides software solutions for;
1. Project Issue Tracking.
2. Collaboration and content sharing.
3. DVCS Solutions.
4. Core Quality.
Among the popular products are,
• Crucible, FishEye, Bamboo, Clover, and JIRA Studio, targeted at programmers working with a code base.
• Wiki Confluence, bug and issue tracker JIRA are targeted more generally.
Atlassian is particularly well known for focusing on serving Agile software development, as well as practicing Agile itself.
From the world's biggest brands to the world's soon-to-be-biggest brands, Atlassian’s products are found here, there, and everywhere.
Fender, Barrick Gold, and Dolby are just a few of Atlassian’s customers around the world.
18,000 companies have purchased Atlassian’s enterprise licenses, around 10,000 own $10 Starter Licenses, free Community, Open Source, and Classroom licenses.
Big Experiment with Performance Reviews:
For years, Atlassian's performance review model was in line with 'HR Best Practice'. Twice a year, people would review themselves and their peers via 360-degree reviews. Managers would review their team members and determine their final performance rating on a simple 5-point scale that determined their increments and bonus. Similar to that of many other tech companies like Google and Sales force.
So, what was the problem?
In short, twice a year model did exactly the opposite to what Atlassian wanted to accomplish. Instead of an inspiring discussion about how to enhance people's performance, the reviews caused disruptions, anxiety and de-motivated team members and managers. Also, even though the model was extremely lean and simple, the time investment was significantly high.
If you ask your managers and staff to invest time and money in a process, it'd better be worth it. And in Atlassian's opinion its process wasn't. Well, not in its traditional format.
First, the traditional performance review model was analyzed in detail. Inquired what made people perform better and what parts of the reviews worked well. Then talked at length with other tech companies about their experiences and asked if the negative aspects of reviews, mainly related to de-motivation and the high levels of anxiety, tend to disappear after a while (they don't).
The trigger for this experiment was that Atlassian's found nothing out there to copy...