Seeking and giving feedback

Seeking and acting on feedback is crucial for making good decisions and delivering our best work. Good feedback is a product of an intentional environment with positive feedback loops.

Seeking feedback

When seeking feedback at Sourcegraph, it’s important to:

  • Specifically say what kind of feedback you’re seeking. A thumbs-up, thumbs-down? A gut call on the better of two approaches? A detailed critique?
  • Ask specific questions that you want feedback about.
  • Provide context. Make sure the specific problem and goal is clear.
  • State where you want the feedback, if that’s not where you’re requesting it. Example: you’re requesting feedback in Slack but state that you want comments in a Figma rather than a threaded Slack reply.
  • Seek feedback according to project roles.
  • After receiving feedback, follow up. Recognize contributions and share how you will move forward.

Great examples of requesting feedback

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Giving feedback

When giving feedback, it’s important to:

  • Make sure you understand what kind of feedback is sought. If it’s not clear what kind of feedback is sought, clarify before giving feedback.
  • Focus feedback on the specific feedback sought. Other feedback may be valuable, but should be separated into a distinct conversation.
  • Always start with why, not how. Potential solutions can be useful to clarify your feedback, but aren’t feedback in themselves.
  • Clarify where the feedback is coming from: is it based on a heuristic or best practice? Is it from a previous decision? Is it rooted in personal opinion?
  • Focus on the work, not the individual.

Keep in mind that providing ongoing feedback is distinct from disagreeing with a decision. Typically, feedback is sought when a decision is yet to be made.

Great examples of providing feedback

(To be added!)

Create a positive environment

As a globally-distributed, asynchronous-first company, each of us is responsible for creating positive, respectful, and safe environments for seeking and giving feedback, by being mindful of how our voice and tone may be perceived.