Woah, Nellie.NET!

From my simple mind to… mine…

Feedback in an Agile world

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I was watching Joel Osteen the other day and he was talking about how gossip and talking badly about people behind their backs are negative things (duh), but that a lot of people do it. I wasn’t clear if it was against God’s will, but certainly the Bible had some passages to support the case.

So I got to thinking about what all this meant for me in the context of software development.

I think, first of all, that if you do not have the courage to give somebody feedback then there is no reason to be talking that way about a person. This is even more important if you are a manager, leader, or in a position of significance and you have to deliver feedback to your teammates. It is important that you provide this feedback… after all, a person may never know that they are doing something wrong unless you tell them!!

That being said, people tend to take feedback negatively or defensively so when YOU are the receiver of feedback, be very cautious of this. Most people are just trying to help you out. Let the person finish. Take it in. Maybe even leave and come back after you’ve taken it all in.

If you are doling out the feedback, make it constructive, short, precise and to the point. Give why you are providing the feedback (a perception, a rumor, something you’ve seen) and possible solutions. It may not be incredibly comfortable to do this, but it must be done.

Now, if you are on an Agile team, talking $h!t about your teammates is a big no-no. It can be done in all good fun, but you never know what somebody is thinking or going through. You just never know when you will say something that doesn’t fit the situation, so be careful. On the other hand, giving feedback directly to the person is important. It will build on the relationships on the team and provide a way for everybody to grow. In addition, it will foster an environment will people will feel comfortable about giving feedback and providing opinions.

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Written by Nelson

September 13, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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