I have a weekly retrospective meeting with my team. To be prepared for the meeting we fill out some kind of board with the table: 1st column for good points (i.e. “Where we succeed), the 2nd column for other points (i.e. “Where can we be better”)
I noticed that the whole team and even I don’t like to add items in the 2nd column even if you want to suggest or improve something. I see here 2 reasons:
- Since all positive items are in the 1st column. The 2nd column always contains non-positive and negative items. As a result, even positive improvements interpreted as negative.
- If you are writing something negative about any point and it always makes pain for the responsible person
The result is sad:
- People don’t want to talk about improvements to avoid conflicts with colleagues.
- If they are brave and add something in the 2nd column it becomes a negative background and makes stress for the writer. After a while, he will just skip writing in this column at all.
Let’s see what Psychology could say for this case:
If you want to say something about others work: let’s share YOUR PERSONAL feelings instead of evaluations!
NO- “Your code is really bad”
YES – “I’ll be happy if you change something in this code”
SO-SO – “I’m sad, since your code breaks our application”
Now let me share the solution I noticed from Atlassian newsletter:
It should be 3 columns:
- I like
- I wish //to improvee existing things
- What if //ideas for the future
That what we need!
- All items are with positive background
- All items are focused just on personal feelings instead of evaluations
- This allows you to write ideas for improvements
It’s great and it works! Let’s use it!