#workout, Leadership, Meetings

Exiting though a Happiness Door

Yesterday I ran a full-day workshop with developers, artists, producers and designers which was designed to review our agile adoption over the last 6 months.

Aptly titled ‘Agile Retrospective’, it was designed to get the group talking and discussing the good, bad and ugly of our adoption and where they wanted to go next.

But I’m not actually interested in talking about the workshop itself, more how it ended.

It’s hard to get good feedback from people at the end of a session. Evaluation forms are a pain to fill out and usually generate far to much information. Yes/No tickets (e.g. red in a box for ‘didn’t like’ and green for ‘like’) are far to black and white.

So you need something quick, something easy and something simple.

The Happiness Door is just that.

Before people left the session, I asked them to jot down their opinions of the day, their feelings, what they felt might have been missing or what they enjoyed.  As they walked through the only door to leave the room, they stick it on the door, the higher they stick the post-it, the higher the ‘happiness’ of the comment they’ve left behind.

Since everyone has to leave through the same door, there’s almost zero effort involved.

It also means I had feedback literally 5 minutes after we’d finished which was invaluable for planning the next stage of the program. That feedback has already impacted how I’m reporting back on the event, what outcomes we’ll have and how those outcomes will be implemented.

I would not have had that amount of information any other way, and it takes people 30 seconds to stick something on the door.


One thing I could have done to increase that level of feedback was to request the attendees do it at the lunch break to.

But I avoided that because I knew I would struggle to react to any suggestions in time for the afternoon session and the most important aspect of feedback to me is the response to it, and if people don’t see a response, they soon stop providing that feedback.

I also knew that this session was going to be continued, and not just a single one-off event, so getting feedback at the end of the event would still have a positive impact on what came next.

I’d just have a bit more time to absorbe and reflect on the feedback that was given.

And if you really want to know, the lowest post-it was complaining about the lack of a tea break in the afternoon. I can live with that 🙂

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