Short developer feedback loops are a staple of modern software development. How well you utilize these feedback loops can make or break your project. Imagine; You chip away at a project building a durable and scalable solution, impressive by most of the modern development standards thinking it’s a literal incarnation of the costumers/manager’s vision only to be hit with the harsh truth. You have just wasted a month of your company’s resources building a project that is about to get scrapped because somewhere in the middle your vision diverged from what was initially the idea behind the product. You think you’ve done everything right, followed the documentation and meeting notes but you’ve just been so immersed in the work that you thought that meetings and revisions were just a time waste.
You are guilty of implementing a long feedback loop, because, as it turns out, the product vision wasn’t as clearcut to your superiors as it seemed to you.
Similar scenarios are common in the software industry even with the addition of Agile so the emphasis is on you to negate them as much as possible. This is where feedback loops come in.
Your everyday developer work experience is littered with feedback loops. Some are constant like writing your code, compiling it and observing the result and others are basically complete project lifecycles from the idea to the first customer interaction.
You start by making the most impact on your everyday feedback loops as someone who writes code as a profession. The shortest loops are the ones where you debug and validate your code, you want to make them as effective as possible. Make upfront investments to shorten them even if it means writing code that will be rendered useless after you have validated your idea.
Test your code meticulously. There is nothing better than getting automated feedback every time you change your code.
Agile Feedback Loop
If you are working in a company you want to allocate your tasks in manageable timeslots that will enable you the implementation of short feedback loops. This essentially means that you start splitting your work into tasks that can easily be reviewed by somebody from your company or by yourself if you work alone. Taking time to reflect on your work ensures that you don’t diverge from the end result.
On project scales feedback loops are even more essential as you want to maximize iteration speed and ability to adapt to the needs of the market. Lengthy release cycles and formalized product approvals slow down iteration speed and hinder the product’s chances to outperform the competition.
Getting any kind of personal feedback is not easy and you often think you can trust yourself enough to delay it, which, in the end, might end up being delayed indefinitely.
So make it your priority to NEVER delay feedback.
Make feedback normal. Not a performance review.—Ed Batista, Executive coach
Integrate feedback loops in your personal career growth, take the time to reflect on your short and long term goals. Combine them with regular prioritizing and watch your impact grow to the point you will be referred to as a 10x developer.