The feedback environment

Feedback is a very common practice that all agile teams must-have. Not just during their retrospectives sessions but in their day-to-day. But there is a big difference between what we do and what we should be doing. Feedback doesn’t start just deciding that you will do it with your team, feedback should start with a healthy environment where feedback is looked like something good instead of criticism and painful.

What is the feedback environment?

The feedback environment refers to the contextual aspects of day-to-day supervisor-subordinate and coworker-coworker feedback processes rather than to the formal performance appraisal feedback session (Source).

A supportive environment is necessary to achieve Feedback-seeking, which actually is like to achieve a wellbeing circle. You encourage a good environment for feedback, the people give and receive feedback, the people look for constant feedback; all these are essential to achieve a culture of constant improvement.
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Feedback-seeking promotion is defined as the extent to which the environment is supportive or unsupportive of feedback-seeking. One excellent way to encourage feedback in your team is trough Retrospectives. We have an excellent tool that will help you to have more transparent Retrospectives.

Why feedback environment is important.

Feedback is one of the best ways to take the abilities of our teammates to their best. A person that is always looking for feedback and improving themselves in one way or another will achieve their maximum potential.

Make your team member more aware of themselves and the ways that they are working, resulting in accountability and engagement.

In a place where the feedback is looked as safe and necessary is more probable that your members increase feedback-seeking behavior. Then organizational outcomes, such as job satisfaction, employee learning, and motivation determinate effective teaching practices, identify areas of need, and provide suggestions for improvement. (source)

The lack of feedback in teams can prove the feeling of absence of progress among team members.

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Which are the characteristics that good feedback has in a safe environment?

Research suggests that individuals are satisfied with feedback when it provides the information they perceive as useful for performing a task they want to perform well and when it is not redundant with the information they already have available.
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The feedback environment is measured across two dimensions, the supportiveness of the supervisor feedback environment and the coworker feedback environment.

Constructive feedback must also possess features like being descriptive; timely; honest; useful; respectful; clear; issue-specific; supportive; motivating; action-oriented; solution-oriented; strictly confidential; trust; collaborative and informative.(source)

There are seven dimensions that contribute to an increasingly supportive feedback environment

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Source credibility:

Feedback can be received from different sources, but what makes it a more fruitful and secure environment is received from trustworthiness sources (not necessary top sources). The point is that the people who actually provided it is a person who has the correct knowledge of the member that is receiving the feedback

Information like:

Knowledge of the feedback recipient’s job requirements, knowledge of the recipient’s actual job performance, and the ability to accurately judge that job performance are essential to creating an environment of learning through feedback. (Source)

  • Feedback quality:

An environment when feedback has been encouraged is possible when feedback provides relevant information that helps the member. consistent across time, specific, and perceived as useful. The recipients need to perceive like they are received help to improve their performance.

  • Feedback delivery:

The recipient’s first impression is to recognize the person who is giving the feedback to then determine the intentions; that is how the recipient is going to respond to feedback and determine if it is useful or not.

Intentions are very important to define is the reception of feedback is going to have a good or bad response. Have correct vocabulary and feedback based on help people to learn and improve is essential o achieve a good environment for feedback.

  • Favorable feedback:

Favorable feedback is perceived through compliments and it is essential to determine if the performance of our members is going in the right way. There has to be a balance with these practices to ensure that our team does not feel like everything they do is wrong. Acknowledge the good results and practices are part of learning.

unfavorable feedback:

This one is perceived through expressions of dissatisfaction, and sometimes is not necessary to say something; that is why is important to be careful in the way that the messages are transmitted. And even if it is harder to learn to communicate, disagreements will teach your team to transmit it and receive it in a more natural way.

Source availability:

An environment where the feedback arises, start with the member's availability. Recognize the achievements one per year is not sufficient to create a safe place where the people interact and talk about problems and compliments. Feedback arises in an environment where day-to-day people can express it and is willing to receive it.

Promotes feedback-seeking:

Last but not less important, we need to encourage our teams to feedback-seeking. Constant improvement is something that all people look and feedback is the best way to achieve it, but fewer people ask for it. Instead of wait till the team look for feedback encourage it till you can see your team is accustomed to it.

Feedback is essential to achieve the constant improvement that all the teams need. But it is not possible if the environment is perceived as tough and not safe. Create a feedback-seeking environment is important if you want to improve your performance.

In Softwaredevtools we work as a remote team, but that doesn't impede to look for new ways to express our feedbacks. Check out some of our tools that will help you: