Agile Atelier

Episode 20: Feedback Loops with Colleen Johnson

Welcome to yet another episode on the Agile Atelier podcast. In this episode about Feedback Loops, I chat with Colleen Johnson, who helps organizations apply a systems thinking approach to aligning agile methodologies across the enterprise. She works with clients to apply the right cultural and context-driven practices to create sustainable agility.  Colleen has served as a board member for Agile Denver and as a chair for 2016 & 2017 Mile High Agile Conferences. She is an active board member for the Agile Uprising podcast. She has experience in the development of end-to-end Kanban systems that marry Lean Product Discovery and Lean Product Delivery to bring visibility, flexibility and predictability.

Colleen and I chat about why feedback is important in any community, the different forms of giving and receiving feedback in an organization, including structured and non-verbal, as well as the power of silence. Colleen does an excellent job of using her experience as a coach in different organizations to talk about her success and failure scenarios. One of the biggest takeaways from this episode for me was the different techniques that Colleen introduces, such as Retro Recap, to give examples of how the theory works in practice. We talk about how feedback can be encouraged in Kanban, despite it lacking ceremonies that are typical in Scrum, such as the Retrospective. Finally, Colleen walks us through some signs you can look for to see whether the appropriate levels of feedback are missing in a team, why she agreed to a WIP limit of 30 per person in one of the teams, and how to cut through the clutter of various types of feedback to digest it and make it actionable.

Colleen had referred to Dynamic Reteaming by Heidi Helfand and The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making by Sam Kaner. You can connect with Colleen on the ScatterSpoke website, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Episode 20: Feedback Loops with Colleen Johnson

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The worst part is when you have frequent feedback but nothing is changing from it… An important part of feedback is action. How do you take action on the stuff [that] you’re hearing?


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