Why feedback is important

We think that feedback shaped our company. We would probably never have decided to found it without an established feedback culture. It plays a huge role in our way of working and it’s completely embedded into everything we do.

Feedback allows learning and is also necessary to make progress. It supports a process of making small steps towards your destination and changing course frequently. This way, you reach your goals faster!

Feedback has allowed us to:

  • be better at presenting (whenever someone is preparing a presentation, there is always a group of people willing to listen to it and give feedback),
  • be better at programming (every time someone is writing a non-trivial piece of code there is at least one person reviewing the change and giving feedback, in a project it’s usually every user story which gets reviewed),
  • be better at writing blog posts (when someone is writing a blog post, there is at least one person reviewing it).

Feedback also plays an important role in us taking care of each other. Being nice, appreciating someone’s efforts, and actually thanking someone is a large part of creating a nice atmosphere in the team. The better the atmosphere, the happier and more productive we all are.

How are we facilitating feedback at Happy Team?

  • #feedback channel on Slack, this is meant for continuous feedback in an open and friendly space,
  • direct feedback after a talk, this helps us boost our presentation skills and improve the contents of that particular talk,
  • code reviews (github + slack), we learn quite a lot from each other during those,
  • karma plugin to Slack, allows us to give +1 to anyone for a specific thing and @karma takes care of the leaderboard.

Be creative about when to ask for or give feedback. It’s probably better to receive it a bit more often. Unexpected forms of giving feedback are also fun! They can work miracles!

People can be afraid of feedback, of criticism and unfair comments. On the other hand, people don’t always want to give an honest opinion fearing they might offend someone. This can create a sort of politeness-deadlock. I learned this simple trick from Rob Conery; just tell the other person that you really want to improve and you won’t be offended (just make sure to keep that promise after hearing honest feedback!). It’s kind of obvious but it has worked for me a couple of times already. Thanks Rob!

There’s a whole lot of knowledge available on how to structure feedback so that it is the most effective. I could go on and on about that but here’s a nice summary:

We couldn’t be living without feedback, we couldn’t be learning and improving. Part of caring about each other is giving honest feedback. Do your friends and co-workers a favour and introduce a feedback culture to your workplace. I promise it’ll make all of you better and happier!

Share the happiness :)
Michał Śliwoń
Michał Śliwoń
Michał is a passionate software developer touching everything from C# to Javascript frameworks, not afraid of F# and Objective-C. He loves meetups and conferences.