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Creating a slow feedback loop

The rule with feedback is simple – the quicker you can get it or provide it the better.

Positive feedback is good because it confirms you are doing something right already.

Negative feedback is good because it lets you know what you can do to improve.

So bring it on – right?

I’ve recently noticed that people used to working on waterfall projects can find this hard to grasp.

Here’s a couple of examples I’ve spotted this week.

1.  On a team of three we’ve split the creation of to-be process maps between us. We have a conversation every day (we started on the Monday) to keep each other informed and allow for quick feedback.

It was Thursday before the others shared what they had done because they wanted a completed first draft before sharing it.

What nonsense.

2. My colleague had a question to ask a developer about a business rule. The person she would normally ask was on holiday so she scheduled a meeting for the middle of the following week to talk to them when they got back.

She was prepared to wait 6 fricking days to get an answer to a simple question.

After I showed curiosity about this, she got on the phone and spoke to someone else. Within 5 minutes she had the answer.

BOOM – That’s more like it.

Feedback should be fluid and fast flowing with things being shared sooner rather than later.

If you are developing 50 requirements then don’t wait until all 50 are coded before making it available for testing.

If you’ve got 50 test scripts to run and you find a bug on the first one, then don’t wait till you’ve run all 50 before letting people know.

If someone keeps interrupting or talking over you, don’t wait until you’re so fed up with it you consider leaving your job before being open with them and letting them know your feelings.

If there is a change in business priorities and stories in the current sprint get taken off your backlog, don’t wait till the end of the sprint to stop working on them. Bin them straight away and re-plan.

If you don’t like something about a blog post or it sparks a memory you want to share then add a comment before you close the browser.

If you can talk to someone face to face rather than sending an email then you should.

If you can talk to someone on the phone rather than email then you should.

If you need to ask for help before too much delta poop builds up, then ask. Today.

And…. relax. Phew, I think I’ve got it out my system now.

You get the idea. Slowing down the feedback loop is a dysfunctional way of working / communicating. It’s expensive and wasteful.

So look for opportunities to provide quick feedback today, and whatever else is going on – don’t be a bottleneck.

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