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Feedback: it’s not what you get, it’s what you do with it

When teaching Scrum a large part of the information is around feedback: product feedback, process feedback, people feedback. Moreover, it would not make sense to not ask for feedback on us, as trainers, and the courses we lead. It was no different at the end of yesterday’s Certified Scrum Product Owner course where I was co-training with Karim.

The more cynical may think we bin the comments and move on.

However, last night, after the course (as after every class), we sat down and read all the feedback our CSPO participants had to offer. One of the comments resonated with both of us:

I felt that the tables could’ve been organised by experience level.

One of the tables had struggled more than the others, and while we as facilitators had supported where we could, we had not made fundamental changes to resolve the issue. That is on us. In hindsight, we could have used a multitude of techniques to get people talking to others and allow people to benefit from different perspectives and insights.

This feedback has given us an opportunity to improve going forward.

From the next class tomorrow we will look at new ways to ensure a more even mix of experience across the tables. The first experiment we will begin is straightforward:

At the start of the class, we ask participants to line up in order of experience with Agile and Scrum. Then we go along the line, everybody introducing themselves and takes note of his or her relative position. The idea is that in a simple exercise we get people talking, moving and aware of who else is in the room.

After that we have people return to their seats, and we begin the training.

What do we do now?

In the next few courses, we will be adding a step. The class participants will organise, maybe even self-organise, into groups balanced by experience, and these will become the table groups.

Unfortunately, we cannot turn back the clock and solve the fault that created this feedback. However, we can, and we will do our best to stop this feedback from being needed again.

So, thank you to all the people who have kindly given us feedback and allowed us to improve our courses and ourselves. Please keep the comments coming!