OPS11-BP03 Implement feedback loops - Operational Excellence Pillar

OPS11-BP03 Implement feedback loops

Feedback loops provide actionable insights that drive decision making. Build feedback loops into your procedures and workloads. This helps you identify issues and areas that need improvement. They also validate investments made in improvements. These feedback loops are the foundation for continuously improving your workload.

Feedback loops fall into two categories: immediate feedback and retrospective analysis. Immediate feedback is gathered through review of the performance and outcomes from operations activities. This feedback comes from team members, customers, or the automated output of the activity. Immediate feedback is received from things like A/B testing and shipping new features, and it is essential to failing fast.

Retrospective analysis is performed regularly to capture feedback from the review of operational outcomes and metrics over time. These retrospectives happen at the end of a sprint, on a cadence, or after major releases or events. This type of feedback loop validates investments in operations or your workload. It helps you measure success and validates your strategy.

Desired outcome: You use immediate feedback and retrospective analysis to drive improvements. There is a mechanism to capture user and team member feedback. Retrospective analysis is used to identify trends that drive improvements.

Common anti-patterns:

  • You launch a new feature but have no way of receiving customer feedback on it.

  • After investing in operations improvements, you don’t conduct a retrospective to validate them.

  • You collect customer feedback but don’t regularly review it.

  • Feedback loops lead to proposed action items but they aren’t included in the software development process.

  • Customers don’t receive feedback on improvements they’ve proposed.

Benefits of establishing this best practice:

  • You can work backwards from the customer to drive new features.

  • Your organization culture can react to changes faster.

  • Trends are used to identify improvement opportunities.

  • Retrospectives validate investments made to your workload and operations.

Level of risk exposed if this best practice is not established: High

Implementation guidance

Implementing this best practice means that you use both immediate feedback and retrospective analysis. These feedback loops drive improvements. There are many mechanisms for immediate feedback, including surveys, customer polls, or feedback forms. Your organization also uses retrospectives to identify improvement opportunities and validate initiatives.

Customer example

AnyCompany Retail created a web form where customers can give feedback or report issues. During the weekly scrum, user feedback is evaluated by the software development team. Feedback is regularly used to steer the evolution of their platform. They conduct a retrospective at the end of each sprint to identify items they want to improve.

Implementation steps

  1. Immediate feedback

    • You need a mechanism to receive feedback from customers and team members. Your operations activities can also be configured to deliver automated feedback.

    • Your organization needs a process to review this feedback, determine what to improve, and schedule the improvement.

    • Feedback must be added into your software development process.

    • As you make improvements, follow up with the feedback submitter.

  2. Retrospective analysis

    • Conduct retrospectives at the end of a development cycle, on a set cadence, or after a major release.

    • Gather stakeholders involved in the workload for a retrospective meeting.

    • Create three columns on a whiteboard or spreadsheet: Stop, Start, and Keep.

      • Stop is for anything that you want your team to stop doing.

      • Start is for ideas that you want to start doing.

      • Keep is for items that you want to keep doing.

    • Go around the room and gather feedback from the stakeholders.

    • Prioritize the feedback. Assign actions and stakeholders to any Start or Keep items.

    • Add the actions to your software development process and communicate status updates to stakeholders as you make the improvements.

Level of effort for the implementation plan: Medium. To implement this best practice, you need a way to take in immediate feedback and analyze it. Also, you need to establish a retrospective analysis process.


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