What comes around goes around - The Power of Feedback



Agile methods are based on the fundamental principle of feedback. Compilers provide feedback on the syntactical correctness of our programs, review meetings provide feedback on the work of our last iteration and personal feedback is often provided in retrospectives. Feedback is essential to fuel the continuous cycle of reflection and adjustments.

However, to give and receive feedback appropriately seems often to be an area where people can still improve. What’s the goal of the feedback provider? What can the feedback receiver take away? What behavioural guidelines for both parties could create a more successful feedback conversation? These are some of the questions to be answered in this session.

Often, amongst all the problems, we forget that the people around us do valuable work and need some appreciation for that. Appreciation is a special form of feedback, so it fits well into this session to talk about that subject, too.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand different communication models
  • Understand the value and principles of feedback
  • Understand the power of appreciation
  • Practice offering and receiving general feedback, and particularly appreciation


The session starts with a short exercise to have people collaborate and to have a common experience to use in later feedback rounds. We provide some theoretical background on communication, including the sender-receiver model, the four sides model (Schulz v. Thun) and Berne's transactional analysis. To enhance the learning experience we conduct an exercise on providing and receiving feedback - in triads (sender, receiver, observer), where every participant will take a turn at every role. This exercise will be debriefed in the group afterwards to share what was observed, experienced and learned. To address the topic of appreciation, we will facilitate another short exercise and share our experience using that exercise in a corporate context with 42 people. As there are limits to the use of appreciation in a public class, resources will be provided that participants can use when they return to their own teams.


Depending on the participants, the session will be provided in German or English. Both facilitators speak German, and will take German questions and translate as required. Group discussions may be held in German, unless there are non-German-speaking participants, in which case English will be used. Participants, when working in pairs, may use any language they agree upon.


Ralph Miarka, Deborah Preuss

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