23 Sep 2013

Continuous personal improvement

Measuring is an important asset to continuous improvement, both for yourself and for your team. There are many ways to measure personal development. The traditional agile approach to this would be collecting feedback and conducting a private discussion with your team leader about your career path. This also counteracts the fact that many people tend to have difficulties giving and accepting feedback in person.

One frequently used method for collecting feedback and input would be 360 degree feedback.

Let’s see what wikipedia has to say on the matter :

In human resources or industrial psychology, 360-degree feedback, also known as multi-rater feedback, multi source feedback, or multi source assessment, is feedback that comes from members of an employee’s immediate work circle. Most often, 360-degree feedback will include direct feedback from an employee’s subordinates, peers, and supervisor(s), as well as a self-evaluation. It can also include, in some cases, feedback from external sources, such as customers and suppliers or other interested stakeholders. It may be contrasted with “upward feedback,” where managers are given feedback only by their direct reports, or a “traditional performance appraisal,” where the employees are most often reviewed only by their managers.

The feedback input box

Our company is using 360 degree feedback and the way it works is you fill out anonymized feedback sheets about your peers and drop them in a box. The contents of the box are then summarized and used as input during a personal discussion with your supervisor.

Improve the improvement process

Giving feedback this way is anonymous, and while it’s better than nothing, would it not be best to get feedback directly from the source?

Since we have a very open feedback culture (particularly in the team), we wanted to take this feedback to the next level by removing the anonymity component.

Turning it around

So we sought a free room, sat down and used the filled out forms as a support for some direct peer-to-peer feedback.

As you can expect it felt unfamiliar to talk about personal development with a colleague instead of a team leader but it turned out very constructive as we were also able to discuss weaknesses instead of just patting our backs.

This will obviously only work if your team is cohesive and open. You should also set some ground rules beforehand, like not requiring your peer to justify his feedback and trying to be objective (you’re trying to lead an open discussion here, not a debate).


In hindsight, team development is not only a matter between you and your team leader, it can also be very helpful to give and receive feedback from your team colleagues to get a better understanding of your role in the team, career path and personal development.

by Maximilien Riehl and Marcel Wolf

YADT an Augmented Deployment Tool
Copyright (C) 2010-2016 Immobilien Scout GmbH
Licensed under GNU GPL v3

2016-05-11 10:48:37 +0000