SAP Knowledge Base Article - Public

2075930 - Starting A New Performance Management Process 101: Performance & Goals Pre-Planning


  • You are preparing form templates for an upcoming performance review cycle and want to make sure the form works as expected.
  • You would like to familiarize yourself with the most common issues encountered when launching a review cycle.


  • SAP SuccessFactors Performance Management
  • SAP SuccessFactors Goal Management


Note: This Knowledge Base Article provides basic guidelines and is not intended to be all-inclusive.

  • Many issues encountered during the performance cycle are caused by overlooked configuration options. This KBA is meant to help identify and avoid some of the most common issues, it is not an exhaustive list and may include items not relevant to your process. Keep in mind, these are guidelines and there may be exceptions.

    • The most important (and most commonly overlooked) tool to ensure a successful cycle is complete and thorough testing. Product Support receives incidents daily for issues caused by misconfiguration which would have revealed by testing. Often these issues are not discovered until the end of the performance cycle when it is too late to correct.
    • Make sure to thoroughly test all forms/templates before beginning the performance cycle, including templates copied from a previous year’s template. Even if you will not be making changes to your process or the form logic, testing is still essential. Some content may be linked to previous year's data or new features/updates to the SuccessFactors system could have unexpected effects on your process.
    • Allow enough time to develop and testing. (4 weeks minimum - see timeline below) 
    • Document your results for future reference. Should an in issue be spotted later, you will be able to refer back to see if the issue was missed in testing, or if it worked as expected in the past.

Items to Check to Prevent Issues

  • Performance Management Form:
    • Launch and route test forms through each step of the route map, check the forms from each user’s perspective. Complete enough test-forms to evaluate a variety of users and conditions, you'll want to cover the most likely scenarios. Test how forms/data function when used in other components such as reporting or calibration to make sure the expected data is pulled in.
    • Consider in your testing not just what the forms should do, but also what they shouldn’t do.  As you review results, put yourself in the end-user’s shoes by logging in as each user role involved.
    • Purposely make out-of-process mistakes to test the results, it is common for end users to do the unexpected.
    • Check all sections to see if the appropriate ratings, weights, fields, and comments are visible and/or editable to the appropriate role in each route map step.
      • Use different ratings and comments for each role so it is easy to tell if users are seeing the data that they should or if ratings/comments that should be hidden are visible.
    • Check the contents of each section,
      • Are the appropriate goal/objectives pulled into the goal section?
      • Are all core competencies pulled into the core competency section
      • Are the correct competencies pulled into the job-specific competency section?
    • Review the forms in the completed folder of each role involved. Make sure the appropriate content for each role is visible.
    • Test emails and routing notifications for all users and steps in the process.
      • Confirm the appropriate emails are received by the intended recipients at each step or action.
      • Make sure emails are not sent to unintended recipients.
      • Test "Forgot Password" and Send System Message separately from routing emails.
    • Make sure scores on the PM form match what you are expecting in other areas such as Employee Profile?
  • Create new goal plans:
    • If your Performance Form has goal sections, create a new goal plan for the current cycle. More info on setting up a new goal plan..
    • Check goal sections to make sure the correct goals from the correct goal plan are populated on the form?
    • If using auto-sync for goal sections, are goals correctly syncing between the Performance Form and the Goal plan when changes are made to the goals? 
  • Create new route maps:
    • Route maps can be reused but creating a new route map for the new form template can help avoid problems if changes are made to the route map.
    • Be careful when changing the step ID for a  route map step. The form template's field and section permissions use the step ID, permissions using the old stepID may no longer work.
    • If you need to change step IDs, your new form template permissions may also need to be updated with the new Step IDs, otherwise the form may not work as expected in certain steps.
    • If you are adding steps to your route map, review and adjust field/section permissions to ensure the new steps work as expected.
  • Rating Scales: 
    • Never modify an existing (in use) rating scale. If a new or different rating scale is needed, it is better to create a new one for your process.
    • It is best practice to have consistent rating scales throughout the form and reports/dashbords (all 5-point scales or all 3-point scales), this will help avoid rating inconsistencies caused by normalization of scores.

  • Reports: 
    • Are you seeing the proper Goal/Objective, Performance, Potential, and Competency scores via List View Reports?
    • Have you setup a new "Process" in Processes and Forms with the proper scale for the New Year?
    • Test Dashboard Portlets to confirm the data on your form is feeding through into ALL the portlets that you expect to use. Some Dashboard Portlets require your form be configured with special hidden sections (obj-comp) to calculate the required results. If forms are missing the required code used by the Dashboard Portlets it is NOT possible to fix them once they are launched.
    • Have you reviewed how each form looks when opening the form from the List View? For roles included in the process and roles not included in the process? For each step in the route map?

  • Form Template Settings: 
    • When you make a copy of an existing template, the settings you had set do not automatically apply on your cloned form and may need to be manually set via admin tools.
    • Have you reviewed the Form Template Settings available in Admin Tools prior to launch? It is always good to review the options year over year as features may have been added or changed.
    • Optimizing Your Template Settings for PM - Optimize 360 Template Settings
  • Get Feedback:
    •  Test workflow in your form to make sure all form recipients can provide feedback as expected.
  • Competencies: 
    • Never delete Competencies from your Competency Libraries. If there are competencies that you will not be using, set them it as "Hidden". Never delete a competency, historical forms still refer to the competency IDs even after they have been completed, deleting them will cause errors when trying to access the form or reporting on form data.
    • Does the form populate with the correct competencies for the jobcode?
      • Note, this is difficult to test if you have a large number of jobcodes and competencies. If one or more of your jobcode-to-competency mappings is incorrect it is likely that you won't know until an end user notifies you that their form has no competencies, or incorrect competencies.
    • Competencies in your test instance may have different ID's that those in your production instance, therefore hard coded competencies that worked on your forms in test may not work when the template is copied into production.
  • Form Elements:
    • If the form has check boxes or radio buttons, replicate all possible settings to confirm all values save as expected. Make sure all reports report on the value you expect.
  • Product Updates
    • Review the release notes from recent and upcoming releases to be sure there are no new features/changes that will impact your process or that you want to incorporate.
    • Check out the Upgrade Center for any new options you can enable.

  • Troubleshooting Resource For Performance & Goals. If you do encounter issues during the roll-out, refer to this helpful resource for troubleshooting advice. 

Pre-Cycle Planning - Points to Consider

  1. Are you launching to the same group as last year or is it changing this year? (impact on custom filter for choosing target populations)
  2. Do you expect to have changes in competency libraries or job codes this cycle? (impact on form config, job code mapping in Families and Roles and/or competency libraries)
  3. Do you plan on launching forms in one language or multiple languages? (impact on form creation and form configuration)
  4. Are  you going to feed the ratings to an external system? (impact on reporting and integrations)
  5. How did your company manager hierarchy change last cycle and/or is it changing during this cycle? (impact on FTP/import settings and/or Employee Change Engine)
  6. Has the timeline for your cycle changed? (both for when cycle is starting, and the amount of time spent in each cycle phase)
  7. Have business drivers changed in the last year that are impacting the way you would like to measure performance? (goal-focused, competency-focused, etc.)
  8. Has your approval process changed in the past year? (route map changes)
  9. How do you plan on calibrating performance? (either through SF tool or externally, customers need to consider how PM data is going to be exported for use in calibration discussions)
  10. Are you planning on linking performance to pay this year? (either within SF or using existing tools) 

Production vs Test Sites

Production and test are independant & entirely separate instances which are likely out of sync to one degree or another. When you develop and test a template in your test site, you cannot assume it will work exactly the same in production.

  • Add additional time for another round of testing in production on top of what is planned for your test site.
  • Add time in case you need to reconfigure your form templates to work in production.

Consider syncing your production and test environments before testing to ensure the testing can be done in an environment as close to production as possible.


  • Closing out the previous process: Most forms can be mass moved using the tools available in admin tools.
  • Turn ON email notifications that are needed before creating forms. Turn OFF email notifications that are not required.
  • Update your Email Notification Templates to have the most current contact information in the body of the emails.
  • If you need to restrict access to the SuccessFactors application during your process, remember to limit access by setting Default User Group Assignment.  Only those who are assigned in the group will be able to log in. 
  • Review all the options in Company System and Logo Settings. It is always good to review the options year over year as we are adding new abilities all the time.
  • Never, delete a Competency in your Competency Libraries. If there is any data in your Competency Library that you will not be using this year, simply set it as "Hidden". Never delete it as historical forms still refer to the competencies IDs, and deleting them will cause errors.
  • Before you import new data into the SuccessFactors Application, be sure to make a backup export of the current data.

See Also

KB article 2075886 - Creating and Updating Performance Management Programs


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