I’ve been reflecting on the process of receiving and managing feedback. It can sometimes be a challenge to receive feedback and not to take it personally. In addition, the level of difficultly in obtaining feedback can increase considerably if people are under stress. During these times its most important to ensure people feel heard and that their feedback is considered in its entirety and taken seriously.
First up, I have three objectives in managing feedback:
- Accurately capturing feedback – without challenge, and with facilitation and exploration.
- Reviewing feedback – to remove items that don’t contibute to a better deliverable.
- Incorporating feedback – with the view of making the deliverable better.
Remember, your goal is to: 1) improve the quality of your work, 2) ensure people feel heard – in that order.
Some other rules on managing feedback:
- Only seek feedback on work that is ready for review. It’s really annoying to thoroughly review incomplete work.
- Identify who will need to provide feedback. Organise one-on-one time to do this with them. Avoid group feedback sessions. Some will be happy with a conceptual review. Others will want a more detailed review. Either is fine. Some may seek rassurance from others. Let them do this outside of the review you are undertaking.
- Craft scenarios/stories that relate to the item you are reviewing. This helps focus on how the deliverable will be used (ie whether fit for purpose).
- Run through these scenarios/stories in your feedback sessions.
- During these sessions:
- Take notes – particularly on all comments and feedback made.
- Try on each comment or piece of feedback for size. Does it make sense – if not ask questions.
- Do not question the relevance of any feedback. Some will be meaningful and important, other feedback may be venting ad frustration. All feedback gets recorded.
- End with a commitment to get back to them. To replay the feedback that they provided and what you did about it
Once you have your list of feedback:
- Enter each item into a table
- Filter out anything that does not relate to improvements you can make to your deliverable
- For each item that is left, work through each. Make changes to your deliverable and/or provide your comment against each. Each item does not need to be actioned. You just need to provide comment in some cases.