Getting Feedback with the Perfection Game

Perfection Game Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives is available in print on Amazon!

The Perfection Game can be used to get feedback on a product or service that has been provided. It is also a retrospective exercise usable to discover strengths and define effective improvement actions. The perfection game gives power to the teams and helps them to self organize and become more agile.

To get feedback with a perfection game you ask people to provide answers to the following questions:

  • I rate the product/service … on a scale from 1-10
  • What I liked about it …
  • To make it perfect …

People have to rate the value that they received on a scale from 1 to 10, based on how much value they think they could add themselves by improving the product or service. For example, when there is nothing that they think they can improve, they should rate with a 10. If they think that they could make it twice as valuable, they should give it a 5.

Identify your strengths

When answering “what I liked about it …” people have to think about the qualities and strengths that underlie the delivered value. It could be personal skills of the people involved in the delivery, but also the strengths of the team, project or organization.

If teams are aware of their strengths they can use them to do effective improvement actions. The last question “to make it perfect …” asks people what they could do to increase the value of the product or service.

A technique similar to the perfection game is the Angels Advocate, a brainstorming technique which stimulates creative and positive thinking. Just as the perfection game you are not allowed to say any negative things (that would make it a Devil’s Advocate).

detailed description of the perfection game is available in the core protocols: a set of practices to build great teams.

Better Feedback

In the perfection game, the rating is coupled to what people like about it and what they think can be done to do it better. This improves the quality of they feedback as people have to motivate their ratings.

If somebody rates the value as 5, (s)he will have to provide suggestions how to make it a 10. People can only withhold points if they provide suggestions to improve it.

If people give a high rating then they have to state what they like about it. What makes it so good, where does the value come from.

The perfection game provides qualitative and quantitative feedback in all situations, making it a great tool to continuously improve. Here is an example how we use the perfection game to get feedback on the workshop that we deliver at veranderproject.nl:

At the end of our workshops we give all attendees a hand out with the questions of the perfection game. The attendees have to rate the value that the workshop has delivered to them and state what they like about it.  The attendees also have to give suggestions on what could be done to make it perfect.

We mostly get high scores for our workshop. And there were many good things that we heard from our attendees to make them perfect; we used those to improve our workshops to make them even more valuable.

In the rare cases where somebody felt that they didn’t get value, they had to give us feedback why they felt this way. This feedback has proven to be very valuable. It helped us to get a better understanding of the needs of our customers and to improve our workshops.

Retrospectives with the Perfection Game

You can also use the perfection game as an exercise in an agile retrospective, by asking the team members to:

  • Rate the iteration: How good did they do as a team on a scale from 1-10?
  • State what they like: What went good, and what made it so good?
  • Suggest what to do to make it perfect: What can be improved in the next iteration?

With the perfection game you invite team members to participate in improvements as they have to suggest what they could do to make it perfect. You can combine the perfection game with a strengths based retrospective exercise to dig deeper into the strengths that a team possesses and define Solution Focused improvement actions.

Valuable Retrospectives

The perfection game is one of the exercises that you can use to get benefits out of doing retrospectives. It will be included in a future version of Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives, the pocket book that Luis Gonçalves and I have written.

We love to hear from you, please let us know which exercises you use in your retrospectives?

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Ben Linders

About Ben Linders

I help organizations with effective software development and management practices. Active member of several networks on Agile, Lean and Quality, and a frequent speaker and writer.
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  • Ben Linders – Independent Consultant Agile, Lean, Quality, and Continuous Improvement

    Ben Linders
    Ik help organisaties om effectiever software te ontwikkelen. Neem contact op voor mijn diensten.

    I help organizations to effectively develop software. Contact me to hear about my services.