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17653RE: [scrumdevelopment] ongoing peer feedback

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  • Brent Barton
    Nov 29, 2006
      HI Christophe,
      I know of a couple organizations who used peer reviews at each iteration.  Although I am not opposed, I have seen this backfire because the team was not really empowered to do anything about this.  Also, some in leadership roles used this information to judge teams against each other and this made things worse.  Many people new to Agile are not familiar nor comfortable with shared leadership and the responsibilities that come with it.  From your description, the anonymous feedback is skirting the issue...the team needs to learn how to open up and trust themselves and the organization that supports them.  
      I would bias my approach to addressing the known issues with the team and using these as examples for the team to start understanding what an Agile team means.  One thing I have found useful is to hold two retrospectives:  one for all interested parties and one immediately following with the pigs only (as a check in to make sure the team is not damaged with unstated pain).  Caution: This needs to be strongly facilitated, ideally by an objective person.  Set the stage that this is about openness and honesty.  "We make the assumption everyone made the best decision possible based upon the information available at the time." (Kurth) 
      Use round robin listing style to get everyone involved (Pass is an acceptable answer, but ask for a response each time).  Process all lists into PBI's, Action items or noteworthy items (not everything translates into actionable work, of course).  I have found that some open up more because they feel the people who have authority to take broader action are in them room.  I have found more "meaty" retrospectives, better action plans and more trust built from these kinds of retrospectives.  It is also a great way for more mature teams to interact with the other teams.

      From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Christophe Louvion
      Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 9:05 PM
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] ongoing peer feedback

      Trending committed story points vs. done at the end of each iteration is a great feedback to the whole (taking too much on, getting stuff actually "done" etc).
      We also have the retrospective: sharing the good, bad and ugly helps the team be aware as a group of their current issues. You can only fix problems you know about.
      Really well jelled teams will tackle any issues, including individual issues. Nobody runs without making mistakes.
      But sometimes, team members are not providing much feedback to each other (new to agile, cultural thing etc).
      One of my team is of the latter type. They will only discuss simple issues and table some hard discussions involving resurrent troublemakers -- chickens do not participate to retros.
      To break the mental barrier to providing feedback about people, a suggested idea was to run anonymous quick peer reviews at the end of each iteration (maybe with a 1 to 5 score), and provide everyone on the team with their personal average peer score and the total team average, so they can be made aware of the other teams member feeling about them while comparing themselves to the rest of the team (without not knowing anything else about anyone in particular). The assumption being that someone getting bad reviews over and over by his team will do something about it, or at least not be surprised when the team decides to reject him/her.
      Has anyone done something like this? How did it go?
      Any alternatives for helping team members speak their mind during retros?
      Thank you

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