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Software Engineer Performance Review Example

March 30, 2023


min read

Valentine Steph

Software Engineer Performance Review Example

Most detailed guide on 360-degree software engineer performance review ever. And how to hack the review process with AI.

Are you a software engineer manager looking for guidance on how to write software engineers reviews?

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with the most detailed software engineer performance review example for tech companies, and how you can hack the skills review process with the help of Ace AI.

So if you’re ready to learn more about how to conduct a software engineer performance review effectively and manage professional growth, read on!


WHY DO SOFTWARE ENGINEER TEAMS NEED software engineer performance review?

But first, let’s consider what a software engineer performance review is and why it’s so important for a tech team.

When it comes to managing a software development team, regular performance reviews of your employees’ work is an absolute must. But how can you tell if performance evaluation is due?

Here are the signs that indicate your software development team needs a performance review ASAP:

Your team doesn't meet deadlines or creates low-value products

If you’ve noticed that your software engineers team’s performance is slipping, deadlines are being missed and the end result of your software development efforts is subpar - a developer performance evaluation is overdue!

Team members show signs of developer burnout

Engineers are particularly prone to burnout and a manager needs to fight the cynicism and procrastination that often stem from burnout. The cruel irony of developer burnout is that the most dedicated, productive, and emotionally invested employees, the fabled 20%, are at the highest risk of burning out.

Your company doesn't have a transparent developer roadmap

Oftentimes, team members can find themselves lost in the company’s structure. In such cases, employees don’t possess a clear understanding of various positions within the company, and how they can advance to a new level. At the same time, many managers mistakenly base promotions on how much time an employee has spent with the company.

The lack of constructive feedback culture 

Software developers, by the nature of their profession, can be quite isolated from the rest of the company. But by making sure your employees have a chance to talk to each other about their performance and the current state of the team, you can nurture a feedback culture within your company.

By carrying out regular performance reviews and peer reviews, you will gain priceless insights, both into your team's performance as a whole, and each team member's strength and progress.

A software developer performance review goes both ways - it’s also an opportunity for an engineering manager to identify possible skill gaps and set a professional development plan to guide professional growth and develop technical skills, soft skills, and communication skills.


4 steps of software engineer performance review

  1. Create s skill matrix
  2. Identify career level (grade)
  3. Build a development plan
  4. Track the progress

Let’s dive into details and see how you can hack the process of software engineer performance review with the help of Ace AI.


The first step of performance reviews is to create or update job maps (profiles). To create a skill matrix, you need to determine which skills are required for each of the roles in your company, and at what level you expect these skills to be.

skill matrix template for Python developer
Ace’s skill matrix template for Python developer

As a manager, creating a skills matrix in Excel can be a great way to assess the skills and knowledge of your team member, and identify any skills gaps that may exist within your team. However, it's important to note that creating a comprehensive skills matrix can be a time-consuming task, as you'll need to collect relevant skills for different roles and grades. Additionally, while some skills may be quite general and applicable to a wide range of engineering roles, there may be more specific skills required for certain roles such as backend developers or Java developers.

AI hack: To save time on creating skills matrices, use Ace AI skills matrix templates for 50+ tech roles. These skills matrices, or skill graphs, contain the full list of skills for different engineering roles with descriptions and level requirements. Skills graphs are updated in real-time, so you always have the list of relevant skills.

Skills matrices in Ace AI
Skills matrices in Ace AI

STEP 2. IDENTIFY software engineer CAREER LEVEL

Step 2 involves identifying the career level or grade of each developer on your team, as well as any potential skill gaps. To do this, a manager should assess skills using a skills matrix to see the real level of expertise and determine the level of each developer: a junior, middle, or senior level.

By holding an assessment using a skills matrix, you can also identify any areas where your team members may need additional training or support, allowing you to develop a professional development plan based on the skill gaps to help them grow and advance their careers.

AI hack: To automate this process, you can connect Git and Ace AI will automatically identify career path levels of each developer in your team and their skill gaps based on code reviews and code quality.

See how Ace AI works in practice:

Connect Git and Ace AI identifies career level
Connect Git and Ace AI will identify career level


Step number three of performance reviews is when you can finally begin to use this data to see what specific steps you need to take to help your dev team grow.

Once you have identified any potential skills gaps, you can identify areas for growth and start building development plans for each employee. For every focus skill, you can add a task on the development of this skill and add these tasks to their development plans.

AI hack: Save you time on creating individual development plans for each engineer. Based on the skill gaps, Ace AI gives specific suggestions on mentors, courses, books, and other learning materials and offers to add tasks to a development plan:

Personalized recommendations in Ace AI
Personalized recommendations in Ace AI

STEP 4. TRACK THE PROGRESS of software engineers

To ensure that your employees are making progress towards their goals, it's important to track progress regularly. And this is an important step in software engineering performance review which helps to improve poor communication with direct reports, und provide unbiased feedback.

Implementing the practice of regular 1 on 1 meetings on professional development with software engineers and feedback system can help you stay up-to-date on their progress, identify any challenges they may be facing, and update development plans if necessary.

AI hack: Use automatic agenda generated by Ace AI for your 1-on-1s based on developers’ activity in Git to acknowledge achievements:

Automatic agenda for 1-on-1 meetings in Ace AI
Automatic agenda for 1-on-1 meetings in Ace AI

You can also track the process of professional skills development with automatic constructive feedback for certain skills and peer feedback:

Automatic feedback for skills in Ace AI
Automatic feedback for skills in Ace AI

Key ideas

  • Conducting regular performance reviews and peer reviews is crucial for software engineer teams to identify skill gaps, assess engineer's work, provide feedback, and manage professional development of each employee.
  • Signs that indicate a software development team needs a software engineer performance review include missed deadlines, low-value products, burnout, lack of a transparent development roadmap, and a feedback culture.
  • The four main steps of a software engineer performance review are creating a skill matrix, identifying career path level, building a development plan, and tracking progress.
  • Ace AI can help hack the time-consuming process of a performance review by automatically identifying career levels of the whole team and finding their skill gaps, offering personalized recommendations on mentors, courses, and books, and helping to track professional development.
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