Swimming In The Sea Of Feedback

If I asked you what feedback loops you used, I could pretty much guarantee that your top answers will include retrospectives and daily stand ups. This isn’t an uncommon set of answers, but there are so many more feedback opportunities out there that you are potentially missing.

I first discovered this whilst running my Kanban classes and I started to have a think about what I could do about this and to get more knowledge out there.

Most days I have lunch with my good friend Richard Arpino and we like brainstorm all of our new ideas. Some are a little wacky!

Richard had never spoken at a conference and so I thought, why don’t we combine our ideas and present something at London Lean Kanban Days (LLKD17 – one of my favourite conferences).

As children we both loved the game top trumps and as soon as we said it, we knew that it had to be the premise of our talk!

Our idea was to brainstorm all the feedback loops we could think of and to create cards that have stars for these categories:



Ease of Use

How easy it is to set up and apply in your organisation.


Ease of collecting and maintenance.

Value for Money

The cost to set up and run vs the potential you get from it.


How much this might influence continuous improvement.

We also wanted to list all the pro and cons so people could make informed decisions on whether this was the right feedback loop for them. We had totally underestimated this task and the cards became a massive focus over the coming months. It’s fair to say that I was cracking the whip with Richard.

So we came up with the following feedback loops for our cards

  • Waste Tracking
  • Pairing
  • 121s
  • Retrospectives
  • Source Control History
  • Build monitors
  • Tests
  • Performance Tests
  • Monitoring
  • Daily Stand Up
  • Behaviours
  • Other Teams
  • Bugs/Defects
  • Incidents
  • Reviews
  • Code Reviews
  • Customer Feedback
  • Visualisation

We could have continued on for many more, but we thought this was a great set to start with!

We want to thank our good friends for helping us create these. Doug Idle for the images and Vlad Mihailescu for organising the printing.

We were very pleased with the result!


We wanted the talk to be a workshop and centred around the people we had in the session. We have created these cards, but it doesn’t mean we are right. It’s just the context that we are both working within at the moment. So the idea of the workshop was that we do a little introduction and then we have big posters of blank top trump cards around the wall. The group would then fill them in and write the pros and cons.  This would get them talking and sharing knowledge, but also validate our thinking and help us update the cards as well.  The power of many brains!

We had a great turn out for our session with around 25 people. We even got a mention for the loudest session of the conference!

2017-04-03 11.06.082017-04-03 11.06.132017-04-03 11.06.19FeedbackIMG_1213

You can find the slides from the session here

At the end of the session we gave the audience each a pack of our cards so they could take them away to get inspiration and play the games with their organisations. We have given out all the cards now, but we are already revamping with version two ahead of our slot at Agile in the City in June

If you didn’t manage to get the cards and/or wanted to keep an eye out for updates, or give us more feedback we created a website so you could continue to be in the loop. You can find the website here.

Overall after months of preparation we were very pleased with the result and Richard was a great choice of partner. He rocked his first conference talk!


You can hear even more including our favourite feedback loops on my latest ‘Kan Do Attitude’ podcast

Keep an eye out for us at other conferences and you never know, we might have more cards with us.

Also at LLKD17 I ran a coaching dojo. Here are a few pictures from that.

2017-04-04 11.14.412017-04-04 11.14.492017-04-04 11.14.522017-04-04 11.34.262017-04-04 13.19.362017-04-04 13.19.51