Living in the sea of feedback

15–16th June 2017
at etc.venues St Paul's

A 60 minute Hands-On by:

Helen Meek


Richard Arpino


Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Hands-On

When someone says 'feedback', what's the first thing you think of? It's the retrospective, right? Similar to a magic trick, this is due to preconditioning that makes this a predictable answer. It may be our 'go to' feedback mechanism - but it is not the only one. It might not even be the best one, depending on your goal. We want to inspire you to look a little differently at your team and organisation. You work in a sea of feedback, some obvious - some not.

This is a workshop and the exercise we take you through is designed to be repeatable. You can take these ideas and uncover your organisation's specific types of feedback, allowing you to gain new perspectives.

Many teams consider only a small fraction of the available feedback to improve their behaviours. This session provides a simple process that allows an organisation to explore alternative and often ignored sources of feedback and decide how they might use and manage the information they uncover. The session is agile agnostic; it is not specific to any particular method.

The inspiration for this was actually Top Trumps, a popular card game from our youth. For each type of feedback we uncovered during our pilots, we created a Top Trumps-style card. Each card contains a title, description, categories with scores and pros vs cons. This deck of cards can be used immediately to jump start a team with using a new type of feedback - and a deck will be given to you to take away for reference.

We'll explore different types of feedback mechanisms and their impact not only on the process but also on the behaviours of the team. We also explore open and closed systems using a visual metaphor before highlighting broad areas that you can use to start looking for feedback in your own organisations. We ignore retrospectives entirely for this and look at the daily standup from the perspective of feedback, keeping with the 'start with what you have' ethos of kanban.

We will look at a team setup and uncover the feedback mechanisms on display. We then explore each one in a little detail, helping to set the scene for discovery once you're back at the office.

We then introduce a card and walk through the sections and how you can use them. You'll create your own cards in groups - each group will get a random card to complete. These will be in large format on the walls around the room. We also have blank cards for any additional types of feedback that you discover or suggest.

We aim to add these to our reference deck so it grows based on feedback from the audiences we present to. We are also linking these cards back to a website that can be used for discussion and feedback after the session. This will be freely available to the public and we want to actively encourage the growth of this feedback library to help teams think more creatively about the sea of feedback they already operate in.

We finish with a case study from a team working at This explores the use of one of the feedback mechanisms from the deck, how it was used and the outcomes it achieved.

About the Speakers

Helen Meek

Helen is an outgoing and driven coach and trainer who is passionate about working with individuals, teams and organisations on their road to agility. She has worked with many varied organisations and teams in many different industries and brings this vast wealth of experience and knowledge to her training and coaching.

Helen is proud to be an Accredited Kanban Trainer with the Lean Kanban University and runs regular classes publicly and privately. Not forgetting her roots, Helen is also a regular trainer for agile and scrum. She is a great believer in sharing her knowledge and encouraging others to do the same, and enjoys growing the agile and kanban communities. Helen founded the Agile Coaching Exchange (ACE) and Kanban Coaching Exchange (KCE) user groups. These are two of the most vibrant user groups in London, getting up to 70 people at the sessions each month.

Helen is an authentic coach with many years of real, practical experience and war wounds from her own agile journey. This is what makes Helen the ideal coach, trainer and leader.


Richard Arpino

Richard grew up in software development, brought up by developers where he cut his teeth in both small start-ups and some of the largest companies in the world. Following the problem led him to scrum and kanban, moving away from engineering, which had been his focus since the beginning of his career.

Working with teams is what Richard feels a calling for. He likes to blend agile principles and behaviours with a mix of other influences to create unique learning environments for the teams he works with. He thrives on the quirky and the unfamiliar and loves hearing from people with the same ethos.


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