Writing Feedback That Wasn't Helpful

I am an early reviewer on Esther Derby’s and Diana Larsen’s upcoming book about retrospectives (Pragmatic Bookshelf, sometime this year).

Here’s a piece of my feedback that puzzled Esther:

“Put those words on weight training!”

Her response was “cute, but what do I do?” I laughed out loud on the phone with her. I was attempting to say something like this: “The verbs you’re using are too weak for me to convey the strength of your ideas. Please use stronger verbs.” But what came out was the weight training.

Now that I’ve explained what I meant, it makes some sense. Esther and Diana will decide what to do about the feedback now that they understand it 🙂 But feedback like this occurs all the time when people review other people’s work.

If you’re not pairing–which tends to eliminate confusing feedback–make sure your review comments help people see what to change, whether they are writing a natural language or code.

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