Delivering Feedback (From an Agile Perspective)

We have all been given feedback while at work. Most likely from a manager or leader but also on occasion, from our peers. How we receive, process, and act on this feedback is directly related to how it was delivered.

If you have feedback you would like to share (as a manager or a team member), it’s important to study and practice proper techniques. Some great suggestions on giving feedback have already been published and here is a link I have found useful:

Esther Derby’s Peer-to-Peer Feedback

You will find many more articles and books on the subject of giving feedback but a few common themes emerge. To be effective, feedback must be:

Immediate. Deliver the feedback as soon as possible after the event occurred.

Contextual. Explain how the event affected you personally. What did you see? How did you feel? Use specific examples and be descriptive.

Actionable. Develop a solution together and make a request to follow-up on progress at a later date.

In addition to what has already been written and said about delivering feedback, I will offer up a few more themes for delivering feedback in a healthy, relationship-building, Level 4 kind of way. Agile organizations must be based on a trusting and respectful dynamic so feedback given with this mindset should also be:

From the heart. Feedback is well-received when delivered from a state of genuine caring and trust. You must believe the only reason you are giving this feedback is because you care enough to help the receiver become great at what they do.

If you don’t feel this way, then I would wait to give the feedback until you do. Relationship first, feedback second. Generally speaking, feedback received from someone who does not care will be not be taken seriously or will be dismissed entirely.

From a team perspective. Feedback in an Agile organization should be designed to bring the person and team into self-accountability. How is my not doing something impacting the team? How does the team feel when I don’t complete something I should have? Design your conversation so the receiver begins answering these questions on their own.

From a customer perspective. Delivering frequent value to satisfy our customers is an important element of Agile. The customer should be at the center of everything we do so our feedback should be the same. In addition to sharing what you saw and how you felt, or how the team was impacted, share what the customer saw and how the customer felt (if applicable).

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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