Simplified feedback framework

In this blog, I will provide a simple feedback framework that manager can use to deliver feedback in a structured way.

Srihari Udugani
5 min readNov 3, 2023
Photo by Jordan Crawford on Unsplash

There are many ways to provide feedback, but few managers find it difficult to deliver the feedback to team members. Due to this the impact of the feedback reduces substantially.

Any feedback should be constructive. And any feedback should be delivered in a structured way for it to take effect.

The simple and worst approach is the “Sandwich Approach”. This may help you but also it could lead to confusion.

In this blog, I will share the approach which has helped me over the years. This approach is simple and effective.

Preparation
Many managers conduct feedback session without much preparation. Without proper preparation, you will not get any benefit out of the session.

If things are not clearly outlined, the feedback session can lead into a conflict situation. Avoid having conflict situation as handling the after effects will be very difficult.

So it is important to prepare for the feedback session. Here are my few tips.

  1. Maintain a log of feedbacks or observation about each team member. Don’t try to think 2days or 3days before the feedback meeting. You may not be able to recall all the scenario and you may forget the important ones.
  2. Ask for peer reviews about the team members. The peer reviews helps you to validate some of the observations that you have made and your suggestions on improvement areas.
  3. Prioritise the feedbacks that are more helpful for the team and the individual. In this way, the feedback resonates with the team members. Any other general feedback can be provided as an add-on.
  4. Prepare notes or points for the discussion with the team members in the form of an email or document before the meeting. This will ensure you don’t miss any points.
  5. Prepare artefacts for the feedback which you want to stress more. This will help the team member to understand clearly the importance of the feedback.

I structure the information collected during preparation time, so that it can be delivered with confidence.

Also, it helps me in identifying actions that should be appreciated, actions that could have been done differently and steps to improve.

Structure for Feedback

Structure for the feedback to every team member

The structure provides 3-sections to capture the feedback. It comprises of Positives, Observations and Refinements.

Let me provide more details on how to use these sections for structuring the feedback.

▸ Positives:
It is important to recognise your team member actions that has helped the team or the organisation.

If you are able to clearly pin point the situation and talk about how it helped, then team member will feel appreciated for those actions.

You can also mention items like on-time completions, lower bug rate etc. as it would have added value to the team in some way.

To fill this section, you can also discuss with peer managers, peer team members to gain more insights.

If this section is blank, then it may be an indication that the team member has not performed well.

For this section try to see, if you could identify minimum 3 situations or actions.

▸ Observations:
Instead of calling negative feedback, I prefer Observations.

The outcome of an actions could have been negative, but it is more of not doing things in the right way.

Hence, in my opinion, these are observations which should be discussed rather than anything else.

So, use the section to mention those actions or situations where,
- the team member didn’t follow the processes or tools.
- the team member didn’t communicate about issues until the last minute.
- the team member didn’t consider important test scenario.
- the team member missed an opportunity to explore new approaches.
- the team member failed to deliver even after all the support was provided.
and so on…

It is important to highlight how the action of the team member resulted in a negative outcome and how it impacts the team or the organisation. Unless the team member understand the impact, they don’t understand the severity of their actions.

If there are too many items to mention here, then grouping to different areas of concerns will help.

▸ Refinements:
Helping team members to handle the situations better or identifying opportunities to learn new things is manager’s responsibility.

Based on the list that are identified in the observation section, identify what steps will help the team member to do better next time.

For every step proposed, agree a timeline with the team member. Every action or step in this section should be time bound.

For this section, identify minimum 3 steps that will help. As a manager, providing clarity on how these steps will help to improve is important.

Conclusion
Before conducting feedback session, preparation is important and the information should be structured for acceptance by the team member.

If the feedback is not structured correctly, you will miss the opportunity to help the team member to become better at the work.

Also, team members will not have the clarity about the performance feedback, which in-turn takes away the motivation.

So, make sure you structure the feedback in to Positives, Observations and Refinement sections. This will make sure the team member understands clearly the feedback and a healthy conversation can take place.

Since the structure does not represent information in the form of negatives rather it focuses on improvements, it will show that YOU as their manager care for your team members.

Happy management!

Further reading

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Srihari Udugani

Helping new managers to become successful to grow in their careers. Happy Management.