Feedback Culture in Design Teams

Sarah Stokes, Head of Design at Domain, shares seven things she knows about feedback culture in design teams.

Feedback Culture in Design Teams

Sarah Stokes,  Head of Design at Domain, will deliver a workshop at UXDX APAC on March 4th-5th 2021 on the topic 'Feedback Culture in Design Teams'. Join our conference to hear from Sarah and other amazing leaders in Product Management, Design, UX Research and Product Development. You can buy tickets here:https://uxdx.com/apac/2021/tickets

I’ve been reflecting on my relationship to feedback as I prepare for another conference talk with UXDX on the subject, and as I aim to walk the talk at work. Here are seven things that I know:

Feedback Is Fuel
Feedback provides the way to course-correct. I’ve been in a new job as head of design at Domain for just over nine months, I need to know whether I’m headed in the right direction.

I Am Not An Expert
I have read up on the impact of feedback cultures and best practice approaches, this does not make me an expert. In the same way as reading a book on fitness doesn’t make me a personal trainer. What I’ve learnt about feedback is that it requires regular practice in order to build the muscle. It's a lot easier to coach giving and receiving feedback than doing it for yourself.

Scary Stuff
The word terrifies me, “I’ve got some feedback for you”. Aargh - I find myself constantly reframing feedback to make it more acceptable... Thinking about starting with a question, “what's your ?”  Or an observation, “I’ve noticed that...”

Timely
Feedback shouldn’t be an occasion, it should be an in the moment thing. If you see someone doing something well, tell them and explain why. If you appreciate something your team mate does, tell them, they might do it again. Feedback in the moment is easier to understand - the context is there.

Set Expectations For Better Feedback
People are set up for success and expectations are easier to meet when known  - feedback is based on how well expectations are met.

Feedforward
Another way to set the course and expectations is to feedforward. “What I’d like to see from you this quarter is..."

Feedback Is A Conversation
And like any conversation it depends on the relationship between the giver and receiver. The better the relationship, the better the conversation. Be Kind, listen well.