In my last post, I talked about how your boss might have no choice but to judge your performance simply by the number of hours you work. Now I'm going to talk about some ways to change that.

Good Job!

If you're boss is gauging your performance based on the amount of time your butt is in your chair, you have a BIG problem. He obviously doesn't have a good understanding of what it is that you do. Obviously the short term solution is to figure out how to keep your butt in the chair longer for appearances. For example, come in earlier and catch up on the latest tech news. You may have been doing this at home, but why not get credit for it? The extra time you put in is also great for "playing" with the tools you use. It's a good time to find out the most efficient ways to use them, so that you don't have to get out of the zone when you're working on something important.

Of course the long term solution is to change your bosses perception. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Let your boss share your pain. When you are running into hard problems, make sure he is aware of it. It might seem a little cruel, but if you don't do it, he might not understand why you spent a week on something and have nothing to show for it. If you're excited about something, tell your boss about it. He might just get excited about it too. In small talk situations with your boss, that's a good time to give an update, but keep it short. In software development, there are changes that the average person would think are very easy. Your boss needs to be aware of when situations like that arise. Email weekly status reports to the tem. If you're busy, this can be a good place to put some of the above suggestions instead of talking face to face. Your boss will appreciate your enthusiasm, especially if this is something that is not normally expected of you. It also serves as a good project history for him, yourself, and the rest of the team.

Also understand that your boss may need to report your progress to his boss. Be mindful of that, and try to boil down some of the information so that it can simply be repeated instead of being interpreted. Remember that anyone in the chain of command up to the President are interested in what you're working on. The higher up you go, the more summarized the information needs to be. If you have opportunities to speak with them, you always want to be seen as passionate and motivated. It could very well affect a decision that they'll have to make one day.