Giving feedback with GROW

Giving feedback is not as easy, as it seems. For anyone who work with a group of people ability of giving feedback, which will yield an expected result rather than be taken as an offence, may be crucial.

Recently I came across an inspiring article about using GROW model as a way of giving feedback. Personally I value and believe in open and constant feedback loop as a tool for self development, so possibility of using GROW model in a feedback session sounds particularly appealing to me.

GROW model may be used in coaching to help someone to figure out how to achieve an important goal, in a way, that suits most of their believes and values.

GROW is an acronym formed from:

  • Goal -> What do you want
  • Reality -> What is happening right now
  • Options -> What could you do
  • Will -> What will you do

We can use this model during the coaching session built around the four parts mentioned above. Your task, as a facilitator of this talk, would be to ask questions and actively listen to your interlocutor, and help them to achieve their goals.

GOAL

The Goal part of the session serves two purpose. The first one is to clarify what your interlocutor would like to achieve during the session, and the second one, to create a frame for the whole talk and questions, which you need to ask. To set up the scene an experienced coach would start with Goal focused questions like:

  • What would you like to achieve thanks to our talk?
  • What are your expectations?
  • What should you gain during this talk to call it useful?
  • Are there any questions that need to be answered?

The Goal section of GROW should be addressed at the beginning of each session, and referred to again occasionally to keep the focus moving forward.

REALITY

Reality part of the session is about an exploration of your coachee world at the moment. Asking questions should help with clarifying their insight on the actual situation. It provides an opportunity for viewing issues from different perspectives.
During this part of the session you may ask questions like:

  • How does the situation look like from your perspective?
  • How would you see a conflict if you were on the other side of it?
  • How important is this to you?
  • What have you noticed about your behaviour?
  • What do you think about what you’ve just done?
  • If you were on the other side of a conflict what would you think about your own actions?

Reality questions help with gaining some new perspectives and clarifying insight on the situation. They could also calm the emotions and shift the focus on what have really happened.

OPTIONS

During this part of the session you may start to ask feedback focused questions like:

  • What do you know now, that you did not know before?
  • What have you noticed about your behaviour?
  • How do you feel with what you’ve done ?
  • What have you learned about yourself from that?
  • If similar situation happened, how would you want to react?

In this part you may refer to he Goal part of the session to make sure that the goal is achieved.

  • Do you remember the goal that you’ve set up and the questions which needed to be answered?
  • Have you found your answers already?
  • What would they be?
  • What questions have we left without the an answer?
  • What steps could you take to find the answers or achieve your goal?
  • Who can help you with this?
  • Where could you find out the information?

WILL

The next part is very important, as it helps the individual to came up with the decisions about the future, which may help them to achieve a success next time. In that part Your interlocutor commits on what they have an influence to do over and what they can really change.

Some of Will questions might be:

  • What will you do to achieve your goal?
  • How will you do that?
  • What will you do to not lose your motivation?
  • What could you do to become more committed?
  • When will you do it?
  • Do you have any acceptance criteria? How will you identify that you have reached your goal?

The most natural path of the conversation would be to start with the questionWhat has happened?” .This would help your interlocutor to clear their emotions first. After this part both of you and the other party would gain the an insight on the situation from their point of view and on their emotions. When the latter are calmed to sufficient levels it is easier for the coached person to concentrate on the session and on setting up a Goal, or considering the insight of the other side of the conflict. The Reality and Options parts of the session may be used in different order or merged together, as it is easier to consider one aspect of the conflict at a time after another as a whole, than to listing everything at first and then analyse it. More natural would be to ask Reality and Options questions together; “What is the situation? How would you like it to be?”. In this part you achieve your goal ,which is to make your interlocutor to come up with the feedback you have intended to give them. However, you shouldn’t stop with this. You also need to do the Will part of the model, which would help most people to commit on what they would do, in order to succeed in the future.

 

More about GROW model and ways of giving feedback

 

 

Agile values

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

“We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.”

Daily Scrum – goal, moderation and output.

First let’s introduce

The theory…

We can find in Scrum Guide :

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours. This is done by inspecting the work since the last Daily Scrum and forecasting the work that could be done before the next one.
The Daily Scrum is held at the same time and place each day to reduce complexity.

  • During the meeting, the Development Team members explain:
    * What did I do yesterday that helped the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • * What will I do today to help the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
    * Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Development Team from meeting the
    Sprint Goal?

But during Daily Stand-up meeting, in spite of its name, is not important that you are standing or even that it should happen every day, last no more than 15 minutes, not even these three questions, sometimes not even a synchronisation is needed… I believe the most important part is to create a plan.

Daily stand-up is a planning meeting!

We should read Scrum guide further.

The Development Team uses the Daily Scrum to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and to inspect how progress is trending toward completing the work in the Sprint Backlog.

The Daily Scrum optimizes the probability that the Development Team will meet the Sprint Goal. Every day, the Development Team should understand how it intends to work together as a selforganizing team to accomplish the Sprint Goal and create the anticipated Increment by the end of the Sprint.

I can fully agree with that.

Daily Scrum meeting purpose, is to inspect progress towards the Sprint Goal!

The Development Team or team members often meet immediately after the Daily Scrum for detailed discussions, or to adapt, or replan, the rest of the Sprint’s work.

Those are, so called, “follow-ups”. Commonly, during the Daily Scrum meeting, long and complex technical discussions should not be performed. Typically, during the Daily Scrum Team Members should signalise others need for detailed discussion and discuss later on.


The Scrum Master ensures that the Development Team has the meeting, but the Development Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum.

I cannot agree with that.

I believe that Scrum Master responsibility is to remove any obstacles, so that the meeting can take place, but not exactly to ensure, that the meeting will happen. This is a big difference…

There is that phase in team development, when team members don’t want to have a Daily meeting (or any other meeting in fact). Sometimes it happens right at the beginning, when team members do not fully understand the meaning of Daily Scrum in their work, sometimes it happens, when they work close enough to feel that they are synchronised and they don’t need it, and sometimes this is just childish defiance.

A Daily meeting is not for the Scrum Master, Daily is for the Team, and if the Team doesn’t feel like having Daily Scrum meeting, don’t force it!

The Scrum Master teaches the Development Team to keep the Daily Scrum within the 15-minute time-box.

Yes I can agree with that! 🙂 Scrum Master teaches.

I can also agree that time-boxing is useful. But if your Team is already well educated and aware of a meeting goal, yet longer discussions still happen during the Daily Scrum, and it is obvious that everyone need them, this is maybe the time to experiment a little bit… But about that later.


The Scrum Master enforces the rule that only Development Team members participate in the Daily Scrum.

Does that mean that the Scrum Master can’t say anything during it?


Daily Scrums improve communications, eliminate other meetings, identify impediments to development for removal , highlight and promote quick decision-making, and improve the Development Team’s level of knowledge. This is a key inspect and adapt meeting.

We’ve managed through some theory, now we will sum up and listen to some arguments:

Meeting goal

 

  • Daily stand-up is a planning meeting! But also a key inspect and adapt meeting.
  • It is used to inspect how progress is trending toward completing the work in the Sprint Backlog.
  • It is used by the Development Team to synchronize their activities.
  • The Daily Scrum optimises the probability that the Development Team will meet the Sprint Goal.
  • The Daily Scrum gives Development Team opportunity to understand how it intends to work together as a self-organising team to accomplish the Sprint Goal
  • Daily Scrum improves communication.
  • Helps to identify impediments to development for removal, highlight and promote quick decision-making.
  • Improve the Development Team’s level of knowledge.

Meeting moderation

 

  • Scrum Master responsibility is to remove any obstacles, so that the meeting can take place, but not exactly to ensure, that meeting will happen.
  • The Daily Scrum is not for the Scrum Master, Daily Stand-up meeting is for the team, and if the team doesn’t feel like to having a Daily Meeting, don’t force it.

What if your team doesn’t want to have a Daily Scrum?

 

  • Make sure that they understand the benefits of being aware of progress in realisation Sprint Goal and being synchronised. If they understand that, let them not having a Daily Stand-up.

Synchronisation is essential for team work. You don’t need to superimpose extra control on your team. Trust me, that with time, your team will came up with its own way to synchronise.

  • Observe your team and notice examples when they haven’t been synchronised and when that fact has disorganised their work.
  • If team would not find its way to being synchronised you may use those examples as arguments, remind them about benefits of having a daily and propose another trial round with Daily Scrum meeting.

What about these three questions:

 

  1.  What did I do yesterday that helped the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  2. What will I do today to help the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  3. Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Development Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?

They are useful and it would be great if your team learn how to communicate effectively in such a way, that all these issues would be addressed during the Daily, but don’t try to change Daily Scrum meeting in Q&A session. That would quickly kill sharing-knowledge spirit.

  • It is a good practice to educate Team Members and help them to getting used to 15 minutes time boxes.

We all hate long meetings and we have all had that feeling, that meetings are destroying our concentration for a whole day. Keeping them short helps to concentrate on meeting goal and doesn’t leave that feeling of wasting your time.

  • Only Development Team members participate in the Daily Scrum rule.

That rule sound very strict. It reminds us that this meeting is for the Team, your presence is not demanded. My team wanted me to join, and always asks about my activities so I share with them.

  • Sprint Backlog and the Daily Stand-up meeting

It is not an obligation to stand in front of Scrum Table during Daily Stand-up, but it is very helpful, so many teams are starting to do it on their own.

If your team does not want to use Task Board, but you can see, that they should do, you can:

  • explain to them benefits of using Sprint Backlog during the Daily Stand-up,
  • educate them and help them to notice moments, in which they are having hard time during discussion (e.g. because they don’t remember scope of their task),
  • leave the decision to them.

Meeting output.

After the meeting the team should :

  • Have common understanding about team progress in realisation of a Sprint Goal.
  • Be aware if they will manage to complete all of the committed items on time.
  • Have knowledge about other team mates progress in their tasks
  • Share information if someone needs help with its task

Case study:

We don’t need a Daily Meeting!

My Team at the beginning of my work with them felt that Daily Scrum doesn’t bring them any benefits. They decided to not have a Daily at all… After about a Sprint, they understood, that they need to communicate more, but they still didn’t want to have a Daily Stand-up meeting.

We come up with the idea of Team-Breakfasts, on which, what we mostly do is small-talk and after we finish eating, we spare 5 minutes to talk about what we are planning to do today.

With time everyone got used to our breakfasts, but team felt the need to synchronise more. Half of the team is starting their work at 7 and other half at 9:45, so those who come up earlier, often don’t know what to do, to help most, in achieving Sprint Goal. We decided to have an additional afternoon synchronisation at 14:15 in form of Daily Stand-up meeting. We talk about what we have achieved since breakfast and if someone needs help, there is still time before end of a shift to sit down together and work against a problem.

At the end, the team which hated the Daily Scrum, ended up with having two! Moreover they are quite happy about that!

How did I manage to achieve that? I just did, what a good Scrum Master should do: actively did nothing! 🙂

 

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http://scrumguides.org/
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