Getting Feedback with the Perfection Game

Perfection GameThe 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

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 compared to what a “perfect” workshop would have delivered 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 where 10 is being a perfect team?
  • State what went good, and what made it so good?
  • Suggest what to do to make it perfect: What can the team do in the next iteration to improve?

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?

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.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Ilja Preuss

    Hi Ben,

    thanks for the article. I give it a 5 out of 10.

    I like that
    – it is short 🙂
    – you provide examples of different contexts to use it in (retros, workshops)

    To make it a ten, you would be more consistent with the rating being an indicator of how much the suggestions would improve the thing that is given feedback on. Which is a mindset that is difficult to grasp for many, and very different from „how much value did it provide“ or „how well did we do“.

    1. Ben Linders

      I tried to explain how the rating works in the section “better feedback”.

      As I have understood and use this exercise, the rating is indeed tied to how much the suggestion that comes along would lead to improvement. If the suggestion would improve it by a factor of two, the rating should be 5. If it improves with 20%, then the rating would be 8.

      Is my understanding correct Ilja?

      1. Ilja Preuß

        That is my understanding, too, yes. Also, the introduction makes the same point very well.

        It is the wording in the workshop feedback example (“rate the value that the workshop has delivered to them”) and the paragraph about retrospectives (“How good did they do as a team on a scale from 1-10?”) that are less clear, if not misleading in this regard. It is my experience that a lot of people struggle with this, so I think it would improve your article if it was more consistent in this regard.

        Does that make it more clear?

        Thanks, Ilja

        1. Ben Linders

          Point taken: I improved the wording to explain that it’s about improving.

          To be honest, I’m usually more focused of helping people to recognize the good stuff and define improvements based on that. Recognizing strengths and exploiting them to improve is what makes this exercise work.

  2. Helin

    good information thank you 🙂

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