Performance Observation Program


The Performance Observation Program is used to collect worker performance field data from supervisory personnel.  This data is organized around desired work practices and behaviors, also known as fundamentals.  The program supports and supplements the personnel development and coaching duties of a supervisor by providing focus to the process of observing work in the field, and continuity in those areas needing improvement.  The data can be analyzed in various ways to identify general weaknesses across an organization, and adverse trends that could result in human performance errors.

The program was deployed at a large electric utility in the summer of 2010.

View a demo of the program here.


Observation Screen

Performance Chart

Performance Chart


  • Observation – documentation of task performance relative to a specific fundamental during a fixed interval of time
  • Fundamental – work practice, technique, or behavior that is generally recognized as being effective in preventing human performance errors.
  • Parent – an observation that serves as the beginning of a chain of observations focused on one particular fundamental.
  • Child – an observation that has been linked to a prior parent observation for the same employee and the same fundamental.
  • Role – a designator that identifies an employee’s rights to view observations of another employee’s observations.
  • Position – a designator that identifies an employee’s place in the company hierarchy.  Position values are normalized across departments and sites.
  • Individual Contributor – an employee who does not have supervisory responsibilities
  • Supervisor – an employee who has supervisory responsibilities, including enforcing standards, coaching, giving performance feedback, etc.
  • Score – a rating given by the supervisor at the completion of an observation (Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, Needs Improvement, Below Standards)

Design Considerations

  • In our business any supervisor in a functional area can be accountable for the performance of any individual contributor, irrespective of how the normal crew alignment is arranged.  Development of employee work practices and enforcement of standards is therefore a “team sport”.  Observations of employee performance are visible to any supervisor that may be in a relationship of authority over an employee’s work activities, and accountability for the employee’s performance (subject to client defined constraints).
  • The ability to view observation records directly in the program or in reports is controlled by internal security. In general:
    • An Individual contributor cannot view observation data except where the individual is the subject of the observation.
    • A Supervisor can view observation data where:
      • the Supervisor is the subject of the observation,
      • the Supervisor performed the observation, or
      • the observation was performed by another and he/she is x positions above the subject of the observation (the value of x is client configurable)
  • Observations can be chained in a Parent – Child relationship to facilitate tracking of an employee’s progress by means of continuing observations of the same fundamental.
  • Design techniques are used to limit the amount of manual typing involved in recording an observation.  For example:
    • Site, department, and functional area of the observer and subject are pulled from the user’s profile in the database,
    • Fundamental descriptions and categories are selected from pick lists,
    • An observation can be cloned from a previous observation.

Process Flow