Feedback Circle is a great exercise to pick the team up at any point in their journey, as well as deliver a key lesson about the power of giving feedback and learning how to just say “Thank You” when people take time to tell you something nice.
- 20-30 minutes
- Enough space for the team to stand in a circle and move around
- Split team equally into 2 groups. Ask one of the groups to stand in a circle with their backs to each other, so they’re facing outwards.Ask the second group to form a circle around the first group, and facing in, so that everyone is stood facing someone from the opposite group.
Explain that those on the inner circle will give positive feedback to those on the outer circle. Ask them to highlight a Positive, explain its Impact & Encourage them to do even more of it (simple PIE feedback method, with an Agile Avengers twist).
Give them a time box of 2 minutes for the first round, and explain that the person on the outer circle cannot respond throughout – they are only allowed to show gratitude (thank you, I appreciate that) once the person giving the feedback has finished talking.
After round one, ask those on the outside circle to take one step to the left. They now should all have new partners.
This time, those on the outer circle give feedback for 2 minutes.
After this round, ask those on the outside to take one step to the left again so they have new partners.
This time, change the rules slightly so that those on the inside give feedback for 1 minute and then swap so that the person on the outside gives feedback in return for another minute.
You can repeat this a few more times depending on how many you have in the group.
If you have an odd number, have the group on the outside with one extra person. As the circle moves round ask one person to step out each time and stand with you are you facilitating. They can watch the reactions, from facial expressions to body language to the change when the time is up.
Ask the team what is their common response when they usually receive feedback? Probably something like:
“Oh that it was nothing, I didn’t really do much” or “well it’s kind of my job, so you know…”
Ask them how they felt after hearing the feedback?
Spend some time at the end asking how the group felt about the exercise. How did it make them feel, both giving and receiving feedback?
You will likely hear some people say it was tough to not respond back with anything other than thank you. We’re not always good at accepting positive feedback, however, this can actually be quite rude to the person who’s made the effort to give you that feedback! Practice accepting positive feedback with a simple ‘thank you’ and appreciate the person who’s given it.
Get into the habit of saying ‘well done’ and ‘thank you’ as much as possible, and try to give people tangible examples of the impact their actions have had.
On the spot feedback is the most powerful thing you have as a team – encourage those around you to use it! This will in turn enhance team building.
Some examples of PIE
- Fred you were great in the review today (Positive)
- I really liked how you talked so passionately about the work the team had delivered this sprint (Identify)
- I would love to hear you speak passionately like that more often! (Encourage)
Sally you done really well this sprint (Positive)
- Despite all those challenges you really lead by example within the team, making sure that extra work requested was only agreed to be delivered if the stakeholders took something else out. This hugely helped the team make sure we didn’t have added pressure and stress (Identify).
- I think you should lead the team more with our stakeholders and help the rest of the team learn this skill too! (Encourage)