Andy Crouch - Code, Technology & Obfuscation ...

180-Degree Review Experiment - Part 1

Photo: Charles 🇵🇭 - Unsplash

I decided to try an experiment this week.

I have asked my team, juniors through to seniors I have worked with for over 10 years, to each write a full review, on me.

Why? Well, I undertake reviews of each of my team every three months. I have written before that this is a useful technique when running remote teams. It ensures that issues do not get to brew for too long and I can hear what’s going well and what needs improving. It also means that the team get quality one on one time with me. The reviews are simply an informal chat. We can cover anything from particular work to development techniques and training plans. I make the effort to write up the conversations and the employee gets to comment and sign them off. We can then review progress on each next review.

During reflection on the first half of the year and how its been going it occurred to me that those reviews are generally one way. I gave thought to why this was the case and how much impact doing the reviews via video chat can have. Does my team have feedback that they would not be comfortable to share in person? Does the time limit we try to stick to mean that we never get to 180-degree feedback? Have I just never asked the questions?

So I have sent the whole team a blank review form. What should I be doing? What have I done well and not done well? What should I think about focusing on? They can write as much as they like and I have made it clear that the aim is to give me direction. There is no comeback and if they don’t want to discuss points with me they don’t have to.

They have two weeks to complete them and send them back. I will follow up in a few weeks time on the results and if it was a useful exercise.

To be honest, I have never felt quite so exposed.

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