Peer Feedback

Peer Feedback

Today I’d like to choose a pattern Peer Feedback  from Interaction Lens described as:

Can you give users feedback on their behaviour from other users of the system, equal in status to themselves?


Peer feedback on comments and stories is central to sites such as Slashdot (‘karma’ scores) and Digg (’digging’ and ‘burying’).

Surprisingly, when thinking about the mapping of this pattern to the managerial world it was not a 360-degree-performance-review that came to my mind first. Moreover, I think this not about performance review at all.

That’s all about your team being transparent. That’s about culture of sharing and giving feedback. If everybody are sharing status, problems, ideas and targets among peers they can get valuable feedback. Thus it is possible to understand how it looks from different perspectives. And finally, get proposals from peers on how to work together to get the synergy.

Don’t hide the information. Don’t work independently with each team member. And don’t let them work separately. That’s management style from the past. Shift to social approach. The team that shares and communicates is twice better than a group of people who don’t.

Surprisingly, it is not about tooling that helps. It is more about culture. Focus on the team transparency. Start from yourself. Don’t hide anything. Give the feedback and get it back. The team will do the same.

This trend is everywhere around us. CNN reports that some tech companies are thinking about switching from e-mail to more social oriented platforms. Yammer (Facebook for business) does a great job and growing. Sergey Polonsky made reality show from his business and publishes all meetings to the internet for discussion.

You shouldn’t afraid that more knowledge inside the team will bring more politics. It will definitely change the politics landscape but it will not increase it for sure. When everything is transparent and discussed there is no background for it. Politic’s main horsepower is in information that not available to others. Less hidden information less horsepower to politics.

Disclaimer: Do not forget that internal transparency is not equal to external transparency. Identify the areas that are business secrets and make sure that no one shares it to external world. External transparency might be not good for business. However, who knows …

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Feedback Through Form

Feedback Form

There is a pattern Feedback Through Form in Interaction Lens described as:

Can you use the form of your object itself as a kind of interface, giving feedback or suggestive cues?


Royal VKB’s 100g/250g Balancing Bowls are weighted so they tilt noticeably and audibly when the ‘portion size’ is reached when filling

That is all about shaping. Template is the best and the most clear example of this approach. If you ask for a Weekly Status Report than you should define a format. Give the list of topics to cover. In this case the problem of status report is shaped and both parties get a predictable result. This approach simplifies the communication a lot.

The same happens if you are publishing RFP. Unless you shape the structure of the response there is no chance to get all information you need and compare proposals you receive.

Looks easy. However, most of the managers forget about giving the structure to their expectations. As the result they receive feedback that doesn’t match the expectations. The same applies if you are preparing a major report or document for someone. Confirm table of contents before moving forward. Think about it. Make the communications easier.

Disclaimer: Templates kills creativity. However, I see nothing bad in breaking the rules. The problem is in not following rules. Thus, in case if you know and understand a rule and have a strong rational reason to break it – just do it. Otherwise, read the rules first.

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A year has passed since my earlier post on the topic of similarity between design and management approaches. Fortunately, I feel that this thread should be finished and will continue with more posts on the topic.

Boutiques use portions of goods adjusted to what their typical customers are comfortable with.The next pattern to discuss is Portions. This is a design pattern from Errorproofing lens:

Can you change the size of the portions or the units of ‘stuff’ you give users?


‘Portion packs’ for snacks give customers the ‘right’ amount of food to eat in one go (sometimes a particular amount of calories).

That is exactly how you should communicate with people. Each person has a capacity. Some can accept a lot of information at once others don’t. Thus, your communication style should consider this capacity and split the information to the messages of a proper size and structure.

You should consider how busy the person is and his reading style. It useless to write a lot to a busy person. He sees that the content is too big and either skips it or put on hold till someday when he has time. That day will never happen for sure.

The number of topics per message should be adopted to the person as well. The best option is to have only one topic per message. However, it varies based on a number of messages per day a person can work with. Some people are more comfortable to have one complicated message rather a dozen of quick three-sentence-notes.

Disclaimer: there are no rules of thumb. Just think about lifestyle of the recipient and adjust your message to make it comfortable for him. That’s it!

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