Farming for dissent

30 December 2020

A good habit for the success of large projects is getting ‘buy-in’ or alignment from peers prior to starting. One of the challenges is that it can be hard to avoid a groupthink trap and accidentally approach others who will agree with you. Another seeming innocuous challenge is just creating a low-barrier forum for others to bring concerns forward, especially when they are busy focusing on what is on their own plates.

Having just read No Rules Rules from Netflix, they recommend a pretty simple approach to quickly get coarse grain feedback.

Send out to a wide group of peers:

  1. A written outline of the project, and
  2. A google form with three fields. Name, rating, and a section for notes:
Name Rating (-10/+10) Notes
Biz 6 Good incremental improvement
Baz -4 Will compete with a feature my team is about to launch
Buzz 8 I wanted this for ages!

While this is not exhaustive, you can quickly get a view on where there might be disagreement and avoid the groupthink trap. Another benefit is you have a clear direction on where to follow up next.

I think the power here is creating an easy forum to engage others and get input, less so about having the right questions or rating system.