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Enterprises are shifting to a business agile approach that drives flexibility throughout the project lifecycle, and enables team to respond quickly to opportunities, changes and obstacles. However, to make an agile methodology and mindset work outside of a limited IT project framework, enterprises must re-invent a competence that may have worked fine in the past, but likely requires an overhaul now: feedback.

Feedback loop

With a conventional project management approach, feedback is important and invited. However, because of the inherently iterative nature of a business agile approach (i.e. the optimal way to get from start to finish surfaces as the project flows forward), feedback is essential, which means that it cannot just be passively encouraged: it must be actively generated.

To that end, enterprises need to focus their attention, and likely make some key changes, in three key areas:

  • Presenting Work: Teams must be trained and equipped with tools to present their work in a manner that creates feedback in a cohesive and contextualized way. This includes connecting and collaborating in designated workspaces that are simple and intuitive, yet organized and structured. Forcing team members to dig around for old emails or connect-the-dots between a flurry of posts, comments and IMs is not only tedious and time consuming, but diminishes feedback rather than drives it.  
  • Prioritizing Input: While all feedback is important, each suggestion or directive does not carry the same weight and value. Teams must have total real-time visibility and transparency to see where projects are right now, not where they were at kickoff or the last status meeting – so they can prioritize feedback, and ultimately reduce the time it takes to achieve strategic project goals.
  • Authoring Teams: While managers and executives help establish feedback standards and processes, teams must be authorized to take actions based on feedback—and be held accountable for decisions and results. Trust is an essential here, and it’s why the biggest threat to a nimble organization is bad teamwork.

Path to Faster, Better Results

The advice that “feedback matters” is hardly advice at all: it is an axiom along the lines of “collaboration matters” and “customer satisfaction matters.” What’s more, most enterprise employees have earned a PhD in Advanced Feedback Studies, and could write a few books on how (and perhaps more colorfully, how not!) to make feedback work.

However, when enterprises shift to a business agile approach and mindset, conventional feedback mechanisms and expectations no longer apply, because feedback is not something that just supports success. It is something that fundamentally enables success. It’s not a smart add-on: it’s a basic requirement.

Yet with this in mind, re-inventing feedback is not daunting or risky. With the right Collaborative Work Management (CWM) platform, enterprises can evolve how they present work, prioritize input, and both authorize and empower teams. This means instead of struggling to find their way on a business agile landscape, they will consistently head towards faster, better results across the portfolio and throughout the organization.  

Viken Eldermir
VIken Eldermir, GM Americas