I have been involved in software development as a hobby / profession for the last 30 years. The most significant change that I have seen is the acceptance of rapid iterations as the key to delivering high quality software quickly. The faster the iterations the better it is. Continuous delivery is the new buzz-word.
I am constantly looking for ways to improve developers capabilities. I found that giving my team members feedback on the work they have done the previous day was very useful in getting things finished faster. (Micro Rapid Iterations).
The developers were definitely seeing the benefits of the daily feedback. The problem was
- Each feedback session went on for a long time.
- Doing this everyday with every developer was a huge time commitment from my side.
I wont tell you the long story of the many things I tried, to get daily feedback sessions working in a sustainable manner. I will only tell you what I discovered and how I finally implemented daily feedback.
What I found
- Feedback from peers - other developers, testers and product managers was often as useful as feedback from the technical lead / manager.
- Feedback from a different person every day was better than showing it to the same person every day.
- The feedback session was taking so long because it was becoming a discussion / argument.
Finally I came up with a set of rules that made "feedback sessions everyday for every developer" sustainable.
- You have to get feedback every day
- You can take feedback from anybody
- You cannot go to the same person for feedback without giving two days of cooldown in-between.
- You should try to get at least one feedback sessions every week with an expert / more experienced developer
- The feedback session will start against a 10 min timer and you have to end the feedback session when the timer goes off. Treat the timer going off like a Bomb going off.
- You can only take notes during the feedback. Giving reasons and justifications is forbidden. The person giving feedback MUST abandon the feedback session if this happens.
This has got incorporated into the PowerBoost framework as the XPO ritual. You have product XPO's, Code XPO's, Doc XPO's. There is more to the XPO ritual then just these rules. The importance of observation, psychological tricks to prevent you from rejecting valid feedback, all this gets covered.
Techniques like these are part of the PowerBoost Framework.
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