How to ask for internal feedback
By Mathew Love
Asking your team or colleagues within the organization for feedback on an idea or project you’re working on can be daunting. In theory, feedback is why organizations and offices exist: to promote productivity through healthy collaboration and support from other bright minds. In reality however, you probably weigh getting constructive feedback as much as you weigh the consequences of sharing unperfected work with peers, or engaging with those with higher job titles. You may even fear that you wouldn’t even know what to do with getting negative feedback. We sometimes get that fear ourselves, and we’re building a business around feedback!
But, this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. Most of us haven’t had training in giving or receiving feedback in the workplace, so we’re going to try and make it easier for you to get started with some simple principles of asking for and incorporating feedback in all its good and bad forms.
Follow this BigTeam guideline and learn how to confidently ask for internal feedback that helps put your notion into motion.
Give your own internal feedback first
Think about your own project or idea and try to understand it from a different perspective. Now, this may be difficult if you’re working on it for a few hours, days or weeks straight—which means that to give yourself worthwhile internal feedback, you need to take a step back from it. Take a day or so (if you have the luxury of time) away from what you’re working on and relook at it when you return with a completely fresh outlook. Make sure that it still fulfills its necessary function and that you haven’t got lost or caught up in the process of developing it.
Does it still make sense and do you believe that it’s ready for internal feedback from your team or colleagues? Can you spend a little extra effort to take care of any easy improvements, so that the next round of eyes will focus on the more substantial parts of your project?
Good. Now you can put together your questions.
Ask the right questions
Feedback from your team or colleagues may come at you in many shapes and sizes. However, this may not necessarily help your cause and may result in confusion—which could end up hindering your progress. Therefore, it’s essential to guide the internal feedback you receive by asking the right questions. These questions may be different for every new idea or project you work on, or you may formulate a useful template depending on your field of expertise.
Here are four example questions to start you off:
- In what way would this idea or project affect your life?
- If you were in my shoes, what would you do differently with the idea or project?
- Please explain a scenario where you believe this idea or project will be handy.
- If you had to explain what this idea or project means/ entails to a child, what would you say?
With these four questions as a base, you’ll be sure to receive internal feedback that helps you gauge where you’re at with regards to your idea or project. You’ll be able to determine the level of complexity to it, the usability or usefulness of it, as well any shortcomings you may not have thought of yet. Once you’ve gathered this feedback, it’s time to digest it and flesh it out.
Organising your internal feedback
It’s important to note here that not all the feedback you received will be useful to the idea or project you’re working on. Some of it may be way out of scope, while certain chunks of information may be unnecessary to the stage of development you’re at. Whatever the case, it’s essential that you take the time to organize your internal feedback and ensure that you filter through the useful comments and filter out comments that don’t quite hit the mark. This will ensure that you have focused information from your team or colleagues that are going to add value to your idea, and not hinder its progress to fruition.
While there’s no picture-perfect template to obtaining the internal feedback you need, there’s certainly a more efficient way to guide your team or colleagues to providing you with it. By taking a little time to ensure that you have the right feedback mechanisms in place for your idea or project, you could potentially be saving yourself from unnecessary turmoil in a later stage of development—therefore smoothing out your road to success.