Build a team on a 360-degree feedback

Many companies use a 360-degree process to improve the training, development and performance of their employees. Feedback is provided by subordinates, peers, and supervisors to the employee.

In my experience, the session is broken down in 2 parts. During the first half, the group breaks apart to gather data about the person receiving the feedback. Then the group comes together to share their feedback in the second half.

During the first half, the person receiving the feedback is self-evaluating themselves. They write down areas to improve on and things that they feel they are doing well and would like to continue doing. Meanwhile, in some other room, peers, subordinates and supervisors perform the same exercise for the employee.

When the group comes together, they take turns to share their evaluations and views. The session ends in the making of an action plan for the employee to follow-up on.

Could we consider taking that idea out of Human Resource’s hand and use it to our advantage? With a little twist of course! Instead of recording ways to improve (they are other forums for that….hint: retrospectives), write down what do you think is expected of your role in the team. Self-evaluate and take note of the feedback that the rest of the team has for you.

For example, a team could benefit by doing this exercise with their scrum master. The scrum master self-evaluates his role and compare notes with the rest of the team. This creates a clear agreement between the scrum master and the team. Even though scrum masters are considered part of the team, their responsibilities are different. And both sides deserve to know what to expect of each other.

Other scenarios that can benefits from this exercise:
- Team with business proxy
- Team with manager sponsor

Spending time on these types of exercises pays in the long run. It creates less agitation when things get under pressure. It keeps people honest.