Last update: 02/06/2016 13:53

Agile Feedback Loops

Agility is very much about collecting user feedback from the real ground, I dare the word, “production”. Usually people are puzzled as how feedback can be collected in all simplicity. They go for “colleague feedback”, “friend and family feedback”, “street feedback”, etc.

This is all well. It can also be combined with feedback organized in what we build, automated or not. A/B testing can be used - even if that sounds like a monstrosity for most people, scared by the noun -, ratings & reviews can be used, etc.

In products we have put on the market, we have implemented AMIS feedback, where feedback is categorized in Anomalies, Misses, Inadequacies and Suggestions. For Frenchies, it's kind of easy to remember: it means “friends”. We often say that AMIS are our best friends

That simply means that we were tracking AMIS in the various feedback loops that we have put in place as standard built-in mechanisms. This is not rocket-science; it is the easiest thing you can do, and still is incredibly fruitful: you build AMIS feedback inside your app or your webpages! If there is an exception or error, it is sent to you one way or another; if the user wants, she can go and find a place in your app or webpage where she can get in touch with you, and possibly say if that's an A, an M, an I, or an S. This information gets routed accordingly, preferably directly to the team that built the product in the first place. Many people found this useful but almost all of them asked me how the user can make the distinction between an A, an M, or an I: the S didn't require any further explanation. So here's what I came up with to help people distinguish all 3 categories:

Imagine you're building a calculator, then the addition of 3+2 must produce 5 in output. Anything different would be an ANOMALY.

If you have 3 basic operations instead of 4 (addition, substraction, multiplication and division) that is a MISS.

If having access to these 4 operations would be performed in very dissimilar ways, it would be an INADEQUACY.

And of course, wishing that the display would be organized on 4 lines instead of 1 is a SUGGESTION.

The question is more how you treat all this info when it hits you, and what you do with it. Well, this is all depending on your capacity to treat huge data and big data can definitely help you in that journey. However, I would like to put the emphasis on Suggestions: in my case, it really helped me to feed my backlog indefinitely!

Hope it helps.

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