Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Buildinga teamthroughfeedback 0


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Buildinga teamthroughfeedback 0

  1. 1. Building a Team Through FeedbackLisamarie Babik PMP Johanna RothmanDynamic Edge Inc. Rothman Consulting Group, Inc. @johannarothman734.975.0460 x 109 781-641-4046© 2012 Lisamarie Babik and Johanna Rothman 1
  2. 2. Building a Team Through Feedback© 2012 Lisamarie Babik and Johanna RothmanIf you walk through a high-performing agile team space, you hear a buzz about the product. “Doyou see this?” “Uh huh.” “Bump that.” “What do you really want?” “Ah hah!” “Tell me moreabout what you want.” “But that is part of the acceptance criteria.” “We should do it this way.”“Oh, okay.”What you don’t hear is just as telling, especially in a not-so-high-performing team. Sometimes,you have to see the sideways glances, the grimaces, to see that things are not working wellinterpersonally. If things are not working well between people, they will also not work so well inthe product. Conway’s Law (the product architecture reflects team’s architecture) proves that.In traditional team cultures, feedback has been the sole responsibility of the manager. In agileteams it’s more important for feedback to be peer-to-peer because the manager doesn’t know theminute-by-minute details of what’s going on within the team.What if it were not the sole responsibility of managers, but of the team itself to to provideguidance for an individual’s growth? Building feedback into the culture creates a team with astronger sense of responsibility for one another. They will self-correct interpersonal issues andwork-quality issues better and faster than a traditional team.A Peer-to-Peer Model of FeedbackIn order to provide each other feedback, the first thing you need is a peer-to-peer model offeedback. This is the one we like from Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management: * Create an opening to deliver feedback. * Describe the behavior or result in a way the person can hear. * State the impact using “I” language. * Make a request for changed behavior.What About Performance Reviews?What about performance reviews for helping people receive feedback about their behavior?Might that not be enough? We have ample evidence that says once-yearly performance reviewsdon’t work. (See the references below.) And, we don’t need manager-led performancemanagement. We don’t need formal performance management. We need in-the-momentfeedback, so people know if they are picking their noses, or breaking the build, or doingsomething that makes their colleagues crazy, or even just a little nutso.We don’t need formality in an agile environment. We need just a little bit of tooling, such as away to provide each other direct feedback about things that work and don’t work--reinforcingand change-focused feedback--so we know if should continue or change what we are doing.Let’s return to formal performance reviews in a few minutes. First, let’s discuss what feedbacklooks like.© 2012 Lisamarie Babik and Johanna Rothman 2
  3. 3. Feedback That Builds a TeamYou’ve seen interactions that tear a team apart. People label each other. The say things such as,“You always do that,” or “You never do that,” or “What were you thinking?” None of those arehelpful. But imagine this scenario instead.Lauren catches Jimmy on Friday at 2pm. Jimmy normally leaves at 4pm, so he has a slightlylonger weekend during the summer, an agreement he has made with the team. Lauren hasnoticed the last two Fridays, that Jimmy has checked in code at 3:45 pm that has broken the buildand Jimmy is nowhere to be found. Lauren wants to make sure this does not happen again today.“Jimmy, do you have a minute?”“Lauren, I’m busy, trying to finish this story before I leave. Can it wait until Monday?” “Well, that’s what I want to talk to you about. The last two Fridays, you checked in code thatbroke the build. I know you want to finish your stories. I understand you want to do that. But Idon’t want the build to break. When the build breaks, it affects me as another developer managerbecause when your code breaks the build, I can’t build. Everyone is running around saying,“What the heck happened?” And, then we discover it’s in your code, and you’re not here.Everyone starts muttering about you, and I say, “Wait a minute, Jimmy has an arrangement toleave early on Friday.” Someone says, “Well, we might as well all leave early on Fridays.”“Oh. I didn’t realize.”“I figured you didn’t realize. What would you like to do?”“Well, I guess I could pair on my stories.”“That’s one great solution. Do you have another idea?”“You want another idea?”“Well, what if no one is available? I happen to know that no one is available right now. So today,you can’t pair with anyone. You would have had to ask yesterday to pair today. Ed is out sick.So, you need another option. Maybe another two options.” “Well, I could do test-driven development, and that way I would know that my code would passthe tests.”“I like that one!” “Thought you would. Hmm, Maybe I could stop taking stories alone. I thought that since I wasleaving early, I had to take stories alone, but maybe I don’t.”“I don’t think you have to take stories alone either. Even if you leave early, your otherteammates can continue to work together when you’re gone. So now you have three greatoptions: pairing, test-first, and swarming. Or, you could wait until Monday to “finish,” whenyour brain is less focused on getting out of the office! And that’s just four options. You mightdecide you have more options later. What are you going to do today?”“Uh, not check anything in until I have worked with someone else?”“Great idea! Thanks.”© 2012 Lisamarie Babik and Johanna Rothman 3
  4. 4. This feedback scenario took fewer than five minutes. It didn’t go on anyone’s HR record. It’s nota management issue. And, I bet that in two or three months, no one remembers it. That’s becausethe team managed it.Unpack the FeedbackA lot occurred in the above scenario. Let’s discuss what occurred.No embarrassmentFirst, it was private. Lauren took Jimmy aside. She could have done this in a group of people, butshe didn’t want to embarrass him. She assumed he was doing the best job he could. Thatassumption led her to believe he was rushing through his work, rather than leaving things to thelast minute. Since her assumption was a generous interpretation, she decided Jimmy needed aprivate conversation.Even in a team room, you can always find a corner for a quiet conversation. Because there is anagile buzz, two people can find a corner, or move into a hallway, or take a walk, or find an emptyconference room. One of our favorites is a coffee shop. No one around you has any interest inwhat you’re talking about. The key is to find a neutral location so the two people have a place todiscuss the issue.Focus on the dataLauren provided Jimmy data. Lauren did not label Jimmy. Lauren did not use the words“always” or “never.” She provided data and explained how his actions affected her directly. Shedid not speak for other people.Explain how you are affected, using “I” languageFeedback is most effective when you explain how you are personally affected. It’s least effectivewhen you try to intervene on someone else’s behalf.Ask for joint problem solvingLauren also didn’t assume she had the all the answers. She could have told Jimmy what to do.She certainly had some ideas. Here, Lauren moved into coaching Jimmy by helping him toconsider more than one option.Sometimes, you don’t have more than one option. But, often you do. And, if you can consider atleast three options, your solution will be stronger for it.Feedback Works Regardless of the IssueYou might think that this type of feedback works for only work issues. No, we have seen thiskind of feedback work for people who don’t bathe regularly, or for people who have bad breath,or for people who sneeze into their hands and then offer to shake hands. In other words, all thekinds of interpersonal issues that make you say, “ooh ick.”When you want to provide this kind of feedback, you say, “Jane, you may not realize this, butyou just sneezed into that hand. I don’t want to get sick, so I’ll wait until you wash your hands to© 2012 Lisamarie Babik and Johanna Rothman 4
  5. 5. shake.” The other person almost always says, “Oh, I didn’t realize! Let me wash with soap andbe right back!” Chances are quite good the other person did not realize.What People Want More Than BonusesYou have to pay people “enough” money to take salary off the table as a discussion point.Management has to ( ○ build a trusting relationship with each member of the team, ○ share the strategy, ○ share the organization’s profits, and ○ provide cost of living raises to a team.People want to have meaning in their lives. All motivation is intrinsic. If you mess with theirextrinsic motivation, you break the social contract of work. Many of us work for the respect ofour peers and to do meaningful work that allows us to learn something new. When we lose therespect of our peers, we feel bad. Feedback allows us to retain the respect of our peers.References and More ReadingFor more about feedback:Rothman, Johanna and Esther Derby. Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management.Pragmatic Bookshelf, Dallas and Raleigh, 2005.Seashore, Charles and Edith Seashore and Gerald M. Weinberg. What Did You Say?: The Art ofGiving and Receiving Feedback. Bingham House Books, 1997Esther Derby has written extensively on her blog, performance reviews are so stupid:Pfeffer, Jeffrey. The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First. HarvardBusiness School Press, Boston, MA. 1998Kohn, Alfie. Punished by Rewards. Houghton-Mifflin, New York, 1993.Pfeffer, Jeffrey. What Were They Thinking? Unconventional Wisdom About Management.Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA, 2007Hope, Jeremy and Robin Fraser. Beyond Budgeting: How Managers Can Break Free from theAnnual Performance Trap. Harvard Business Press, 2003.Buckingham, Marcus and Curt Coffman. First, Break All the Rules: What the Worlds GreatestManagers Do Differently. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1999.Pfeffer, Jeffrey and Robert I. Sutton. Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense:Profiting From Evidence-Based Management. Harvard Business Press, 2006.© 2012 Lisamarie Babik and Johanna Rothman 5
  6. 6. Johanna’s article from Agile 2010: Agile Managers: The Essence of Leadership, says: I’d like to stay in touch with you after the conference. Want to connect onLinkedIn? Please invite me. I write the Pragmatic Manager email newsletter that comes outmonthly. If you would like to subscribe, please give me your card, fill out the yellow form, orsign up online.Lisamarie says: I’d like to stay in touch, too! You can find me on LinkedIn. Send an invite!© 2012 Lisamarie Babik and Johanna Rothman 6