Ask the Authors
Q: It can be demotivating to have an idea that doesn’t make the cut during an Agile working session. How can we ensure that the teammate behind that idea receives proper feedback and closure?
Author Steve Berez responds: Innovative ideas can and should come from a variety of internal and external sources. Typically, product managers prioritize these ideas based on customer and business value, though technical, regulatory and other considerations also come into play.
Transparency is key. Employees who submit ideas should trust that those ideas are evaluated based on their merit. They can receive feedback in a variety of ways. Team members who submit an idea for their own team would typically hear it discussed during backlog refinement or sprint planning, with a brief explanation as to its value and resulting priority. They should have the opportunity to ask for more information from the product owner offline as well.
Someone submitting an idea for another team may be able to track it in a backlog management system, ideally one that’s broadly accessible internally. The organizations that manage innovation best usually have formal systems in place for submitting ideas and following up on the disposition of those ideas, often with brief explanations. This is both motivating and instructive to the employees generating ideas, and it results in more, better ideas down the road.
Another benefit: Transparency can also ensure that those doing the prioritization receive feedback on their work from a variety of sources.