When coaching my three daughters and their soccer teams for over 15 years, I started each season with a discussion about my philosophy about feedback. My mantra is that you don’t need to be bad to get better. I am coaching you not because I think you’re terrible but because I see true potential in you and I want you to be better. I carry that into my professional life and the relationships with my coworkers and my teams.
We are not good at feedback, both giving and receiving. It can be uncomfortable to hear that you could have done better. It is awkward to give direct and honest feedback when the message is “you did not meet my expectations.” Usually the receiver is left feeling inadequate. The truth is that we need to change our culture such that feedback becomes a gift. A gift that is given to someone that we care about. A gift that is received from someone that we respect.
Whether the feedback is verbal or written, from a person 1:1, from your teammates during a retrospective or information from your tools or pipelines, it should be embraced for your journey of continuous improvement. It is mandatory for a learning organization. It is imperative for Agile and DevOps! There are some important guidelines that should be followed for this to be successful and I will go into them in depth.
Pete Chestna has more than 30 years of experience developing software and leading development teams, and has been granted three patents. Pete has been developing web applications since 1996, including one of the first applications to be delivered through a web interface. He led transformation from Waterfall to Agile, and finally to DevOps, in addition to taking the company from a monolithic architecture to one based on microservices. Since 2006, Pete has been a leader in the Application Security (AppSec) space and has consulted with some of the world’s largest companies on their AppSec programs. From 2019-2021, Pete ran the Application Security program for the Bank of Montreal, with responsibilities for over 2000 applications. In addition to his role as a contributing editor at DevOps.com and SecurityBoulevard.com, he now shares his experience by speaking internationally at both security and developer conferences on the topics of AppSec, Agile and DevSecOps. Buy him a whisk(e)y and he’ll tell you all about it.