New week, new post 🙂 This week my post will be from a little lighter category than previous one and following one. But hopefully still valuable for the readers, especially it is very easy to apply as-is. I decided to share a very recent story – regarding feedback workshop I conducted. Feedback workshop, but with a twist. Below I will explain WHAT I did, HOW I did it, and WHY I did it this way. If you recognised the Golden Circle pattern from Simon Sinek – you nailed it 🙂
So let’s begin.
The reason behind the whole idea.
Some time ago I came to conclusion, that my teams might benefit a bit from learning more about feedback. Not that they had problem with feedbacking each other, but it is rarely topic that is perfect. So I decided to take a chance.
Preparations – how to make it effective and efficient? Reuse stuff 🙂
I decided that is this a good opportunity to combine two great things. But I didi it my way 🙂 One was our internal feedback training prepared by my fellow Scrum Masters (Gosia, Ania, kudos for you!).
Second was very simple, yet eye-opening online game of battleships (also found in the depths of the Internet by Gosia). But this is a special version of battleships, perfect for my feedback workshop. It is designed to show details between two sorts of feedback – immediate and delayed. Now you have probably started realising where it is heading to 🙂
I booked an 1-hour timebox and sent invitations. It had of course very professional title: 😉 “I want to play a game” [and learn something in the process]. Some of you remember great movie, Saw that inspired me in that matter.
Of course, I first gathered participants’ expectations, which in fact were quite similar to my agenda. Unfortunately the beginning of the workshop was not 100% seamless. We realised, that on that particular day Miro had one of its many hiccups. The result was, that despite having all the rights of PRO customer, nobody but me could do anything on a board. We talked more instead 😉
Main part started from SOME theory. I always start with some theoretical background, to give better context and not leave people lost. First, I asked participants what feedback is and what is its purpose according to their knowledge.
Then we compared it with ‘official’ feedback goal and definition. It anchored us in the topic. Stressing actual meaning of feedback also was very handy and drew everybody’s attention.
Then, I presented two (just TWO!) models of giving feedback, and asked participants for respective examples. That went extraordinarily well. Note to self: when they build examples using sarcasm and irony, and there is a lot of laugh in the process – you know they get it right. 🙂
The feedback models I used are pretty simple:
SBI ® – Acronym from Situation – Behavior – Impact created here
The Situation-Behavior-Impact method is simple and direct: You capture and clarify the Situation, describe the specific Behaviors observed, and explain the Impact that the person’s behavior had on you.
FUKO (Fakty, Uczucia, Konsekwencje, Oczekiwania) – in English: Facts, Emotions, Consequences, Expectations). Very unfortunate English acronym, very…
FUKO method is also simple and direct: you precisely describe Facts (what happened), indicate what Emotions these facts triggered, what are the Consequences of such behaviour, and indicate Expectations for the future (so it's the actionable part).
Fun fact – while searching for pictures and origins of these methods, I found out, that back in 2018 the article on Agile 247 described the same two methods. Well, just as they say, classics is always the best 🙂
Two feedback models? Just two? O_o
Why I decided to use just two models in my feedback workshop? It is simple – for #Simplification.
My goal was not to make anybody feedback specialist. In my feedback workshop I wanted to help participants understand feedback a bit better. I wanted them to believe and internalise need of giving and receiving in certain way (by actually listening and reflecting). After that, if they are willing to give more feedback, more willingly and openly – it’s a success already.
And hello, from the other side 😉 knowing feedback giving patterns make you more aware to see incoming feedback. It is actually pretty easy – patterns are simple, similar, and there are only two of them ^^). If somebody recognises the attempt of incoming feedback – it is a signal for them to start listening carefully. Why? Because the other person is caring enough to leave the comfort zone and share own feelings with them.
practices for giving and receiving feedback – dos and donts
After doing those simple exercises, we discussed the good and bad practices of giving feedback. Some are pretty obvious, just to mention, some needed a few more words. But three of them took more time than the rest – and I think it is good to bring them here.
- “Feedback sandwich is over” – but there is still a lot of managers using it. Unfortunately for them and their employees. There was heated discussion around this topic.
- “Positive feedback in public, constructive – only in private“. This is the point I personally had some objections, objections triggered by Patrick Lencioni himself. Indeed, in a few podcast episodes he describes situations, where constructive feedback given in private can have negative impact on the team! And when you hear his arguments – you cannot disagree with him.
Imagine there’s this important meeting and one person is late. But boss says nothing. Situation repeats. Boss says nothing. The others SEE, that there is no point in being on time, as there is no boss’s reaction. Point taken. What they did not see, that boss already gave feedback to person being late. But the harm was already done.
This simple example shows us, that in certain types of situations we might benefit more from giving feedback in public than in private.
- “Give feedback ASAP” – to avoid blurring details of the situation. This was great for me, as it was perfect transition and baseline for the final step of this feedback workshop.
Final step of the workshop
Last but not least part was the game of battleships. In the classic version I used to play as a kid, you had to draw two 10×10 squares (one for your ships, second for your opponents’). It was easiest when you had notebook with squared paper. (Had to google “zeszyt w kratkę” translation into English XD).
Then within that area you placed a set of different size ships (in my case – 1x 4, 2×3, 3×2 and four singles). You had to of course obey to certain rules – e.g. ships could not touch each other or could not bend. When both sides were ready, the game started and then in turns you ‘shot’, trying to sink all the enemy ships, before the enemy sunk yours. Simple yet entertaining.
How it started…
In this online version you play against the computer and there is a bit different set of ships. But the rest of the idea remains the same. So in our workshop participants played in paralel. The goal was to play two rounds, and each had slightly different rules. In both you had 30 shots to fire and 5 minutes to do this.
Buf during the first round (‘delayed feedback‘) you did not know which shot was hit or miss until the last shot was fired, and you confirmed all the shots. So everybody shot blindly, usually using some kind of strategy (e.g. every third square, etc.). This is good moment for additional discussion – why this way, and not the other?
During the second round (‘instant feedback‘) after every shot you immediately knew the result, and could adjust strategy if needed.
After both rounds – there was comparison of the results. Number of shots (obviously the same), time of play and the number of hits and sank ships.
… How it ended 🙂
I asked participants to paste their results to the Miro board. As you probably expected, the results were straightforward, but let’s summarise real-life conclusions:
- Majority of participants had their ‘instant’ feedback round LONGER than ‘delayed feedback’. Why? Because they were adjusting their actions according to results of the shots. So actions were less random, and more deliberate.
- Majority of participants had higher hit rate with ‘instant feedback’. Both in terms of hits and ships sunk. And the results were significant – from ~30% to 150% better 🙂
- As always, there are exceptions having the opposite results 😉 . Of course it’s rather due to the fact, they blind shooting is lucky, or conscious strategy is lousy. Or both 🙂
Conclusion – what’s in it for me?
There are a few valuable aspects I would like to point out. Within 1h-1h15m timeframe it took me you get:
- Simple yet effective feedback workshop.
- Feedback awareness among participants.
- Quick and entertaining integration activity.
- Starting point for eventual further steps in the topic.
Oh, and the teams love it, as this is something that breaks the everyday routine. For me this feedback workshop was great mix of effectiveness and efficiency, and I encourage you to try it – you invest a little time and effort, with much bigger stake both in the short anfd long run. That is all about in Agile, right? 🙂