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Shortening the Feedback Loop to Improve Collaboration

Internal Communication
Productivity
Feedback
Prioritization
Health / Stress / Burn-Out

4 April, 2022

Rui Miguel de Matos Ferreira
Rui Miguel de Matos Ferreira

Director of Engineering at Spider AF

Rui Ferreira, Change Agent at Independent, describes how he structured a feedback loop between cross-functional teams.

Difficulties of a Long Feedback Loop

I worked in a company where the certification process was done externally to the team. Typically a team that was closer to the business end of things focused on the certification after the development was completed.

I was acting as a scrum master of this team, and the certification process was causing issues for the team members. Specifically, individuals became frustrated because they were building things and then waiting weeks until they heard feedback on these features or tools. When they listened to the feedback on their project, my team was already working on another task. It only caused more problems when the team needed to iterate on previous activities that had not received feedback yet.

The long delay in feedback made it necessary for the team to constantly switch what they were working on. Sometimes, if they were building upon a previous feature, they had to scrap their work altogether when they received the feedback.

Shortening the Certification

To overcome this situation, my team proposed an idea where we had certification dates. For example, a team that has an iteration of four weeks would reserve the last two or three days to focus on the certification with the external team. In my case, the team set a physical environment and invited the dev teams, business analysts, and anyone that could accept the project to provide feedback.

It was exciting to see a process that previously took weeks of back and forth communication combined into a productive two or three days. Other than the increased pace of the feedback loop, there were other positive outcomes.

For one, the collaboration between teams increased. When testing was happening, and someone identified what looked like a bug, a member from my team could communicate directly with the other teams to determine if it truly was a bug.

While everything was not solved during these few days, the team managed to prioritize the most important items in the backlog. The impact of this process was much larger in comparison to the previous method.

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