Monday, March 11, 2013

Be Critical, Scrum and Feedback


There was an interesting radio piece on American Public Media’s Market Place the other day. Host Kai Ryssdal talked with Stephan J. Dubnar of Freakonomics fame about what the latest academic research on feedback tells us. 

Here’s how it breaks down: to get people to commit, positive feedback is shown to be really helpful. So if you have a new Team member, the Team and the Scrum Master should see substantial improvement in that new member’s commitment by focusing comments on what that team member is doing well.

However, once that Team member is fully on board, a Scrum Master would see diminishing returns from continued positive feedback. To get increased performance at this point, critical feedback is the only game in town. Basically, if you want improvement out of a committed Team, you have to point out what they are doing wrong and help them find a better way to complete their tasks.

The other interesting finding is that the more expertise someone has, the more they tend to filter out positive feedback. So if you have a great coder with 20 years experience, giving him or her props isn’t going to do much.

You can read all the research the story was based on here.

-- Joel Riddle

4 comments:

Tom said...

This is actually a representation of the situational leadership theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situational_leadership_theory

In short: a beginner needs guidance, not motivation, after first frustration he will need both, then motivation kicks back in and at the highest level you just need to let him do his job ...

Tom said...

This represents the siutational leadership theory in general: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situational_leadership_theory

Jimmi Pennerup said...

Just to be a bit picky about it, critical feedback isn't the opposite of positive feedback.
Imho all feedback should always be positive (read constructive). You can be critical and still give constructive feedback.

Jimmi Pennerup said...

Just to be a bit picky about it, critical feedback isn't the opposite of positive feedback.
Imho all feedback should always be positive (read constructive). You can be critical and still give constructive feedback.