Feedback – Step 5 to Getting on Top of Your Issues

Step 5 – Feedback

This post concentrates on how to implement learning and feedback in your response to issues and their management – covering the requirements for feedback, learning from mistakes, utilising history, avoiding haste, implementing continuous improvement and working smart.

This is the fifth of six posts that outline in more detail our guide to getting on top of your issues, born out of our experience, frustration and success in managing issues in complex environments.

Feedback is everything

An issue resolution system approach is blind without feedback.  Feedback is necessary from issue raisers to improve initial information and help communication, feedback from resolvers is required to feed continuous improvement and feedback from management is used to adjust expectations and set targets.

Learning from mistakes

We all make mistakes at some time and all we need to do is learn from these mistakes to avoid repetition. This is easy to say but hard to execute, sometimes requiring a full root cause analysis to bring clarity to the key learning points – sometimes not so much.  Monitoring progress against these learning points and looking out for symptoms of repetition will help avoid future failures.

History is valuable

An historical overview can be very valuable in setting expectations and allocating resources but it is not infallible.  New assets, processes, technology and people can all partially invalidate an historical prospective – so always be aware of changes on the ground and how they might affect the nature and frequency of issues being raised. Re-analysis of historic key learning points can also be useful in further refining understanding.

Fast is great, fixed is better

The urge to speed response times can be all consuming, with continuous pressure to reduce time between issue raising and resolution.  This however can be counterproductive – ensuring issues are closed AND not repeating is the ultimate objective.  This can add time to lean and absorb previous feedback before first resolution but this is nothing compared to that lost on repetitive issues which could be avoided.

Improve is all you need to do

Continuous improvement is a key element to this guide and should become second nature to those responsible for closing and reporting on issues.  Allocating necessary resources can be challenging but is always worthwhile – make sure that the case for a change is comprehensive and includes benefits for all parties involved.  Visibility of improvement also helps motivate staff and management.

SMART not frantic

The theme of working smarter not harder is well trodden but no less valid for that.  Taking a smarter approach always requires an overview away from the ‘noise’ of immediate priorities and this mind-set is to be cultivated, recognising initiative and rewarding success.  The pressure to stop wasting time never recedes but a SMART rather than a panicked issue response is always the quicker path to resolution.

Further Reading

We have prepared a simple primer from this article with a series of questions to aid your understanding:

One Issue 6 steps – Step 5 Feedback Questionnaire

An overview of the 6 steps has previously been published here .

The steps are 1 Awareness, 2 Categorise, 3 Organise, 4 Implement, 5 Feedback and 6 Monitor.

You may also find these external links useful in exploring these topics further:

Learning from Mistakes – Chialvo & Bak paper (2008)

Continuous Improvement – ASQ overview

SMART Working – overview from Sheffield University