The importance of the feedback — Fabricio Ceciliano Navarro

Usually when we are in a project, we tend to just keep doing our work and whatever the client says. We think we are doing everything ok just because we don’t heard any complain coming from the client, so we believe everything is ok, but that is not completely right.

However, we don’t have to wait until the client complain to change something. I think here in Costa Rica we are used to hear and pay attention only to negative things, so we don’t change how we do things until someone else tells us that we are doing something wrong and in most of the cases we took that opinion as something bad so we try to defend ourselves, which definitely won’t solve the problem.

What we need to do is take that opinions as feedback. Maybe we are missing things that the client is used to. Or because our culture we think our habits are normal, but that is not necessary true for people from another countries, specially from the USA, where they have a more developed work culture so they know how to do things better than us. So in the case we hear our client complain about something, what we have to do is ask them what we are doing wrong and try to look for solutions together. This way, they will see we are open to change our ways to do things and to work in order to complete the project correctly. I think that if you make them trust on you so they can tell you what you are doing wrong, they will feel more comfortable with the project and all the people working there, because they’ll see that changes can be done if necessary, making the project to succeed and be finished on time.

On the other hand, there is the positive feedback. This is something we are not familiarized at all because in Costa Rica we tend to only say negative things, but when something is positive or exceptional, nobody mention anything about that. That is something that needs to be change, the same way we receive negative feedback and things to be change, we should receive positive feedback. That way we will be able to keep doing things as we are, making the client happy with our work and thus with Pernix. Also this help us to know in what things we are good. which will help us to set our career path, leading us to start doing more of that staff in which we are good.

But of course, the feedback won’t come by its own, we need to look for it. If we do this, we will find out our strengths and weaknesses, which will help to spend more time improving our strengths or enhancing our weaknesses. Additional to that, feedback allows us to know the aspects in which the client focus, so we can convince them that we are the best on that, leading to new recommendations and therefore new projects (so more money!).

Now, I would to talk about two situations where the feedback had helped me to improve and become a better professional. The first one was when I was working in a big new feature and that new feature was going to determine if the product owner could attract new clients to the project. At the beginning, in the developers team we were doing a Proof-of-Concept to see if the new feature would fit the project structure at the moment. This looked simple when we started it, but became harder as we progress. Then, we realized the new feature needs some changes in order to fit with the product owner requirements and the project structure. So what we did was to show our progress to the product owner and explain him why the way he was asking us do to it was not possible. So after a long stand up, all the team members got to a suitable solution, which included the product owner and developers team ideas and fit better than the original description of the feature. Here, the feedback help me because we show the product owner our progress, mainly because we were not sure if it was a good idea to keep working on the original description because of the structure of the project, so fortunately we ask the product owner for feedback, which led us to explain our thoughts on doing the work that way and how it would be better to change a little the new feature, in terms of productivity and avoid the DRY principle.

The second situation where feedback helped me is very similar to the previous one but in this case, I think is something that we need to get familiar with in order to be as productive as we can. During the daily stand up for the different projects, we are used to only hear and give our daily updates verbally, at least in my case, I have seen that there are few situations where we ask to share out screen in order to show our progress and I think doing this is a very good way to get feedback. I know every task has its acceptance criteria, but is different to just ask questions and implement it the way we think is better, than show to the rest of the team our progress. If we do this, not only the product owner will tell us if that is the right way the feature needs to be develop, but also the other members of the team will be able to give suggestions on how we can improve what we are doing or even help us if we don’t know how to do something. The first time I ask to share my screen during a stand up, I was very afraid that the product owner would thought it was a waste of time but I really needed to it because I have some questions about the work I was doing, nevertheless, the product owner realize there was a wrong acceptance criteria so he ask me to do a little change and also the rest of the team gave me a solution of how I could achieve some of the required features, which saved me a lot of researching time and let me focus on what was important.

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Pernix Solutions

A software development and evolutionary prototyping solutions company. We build quality products and deliver them on time by going “Beyond Agile”.