Introducing Flindt: a feedback tool for Holacracy companies
Written by Tom Offringa on 9th May 2017
Because our company is working with Holacracy, we don’t have our yearly progress talks with managers or bosses. This comes with a lot of challenges as well as possibilities. One of the challenges is the fact that everyone becomes accountable for giving feedback.
The first stage: GRID360
In the early days of Spindle, my colleague Ednan built a tool to facilitate giving feedback, called GRID360. This is a tool based on the classic and well-known principle of 360 degrees feedback. It asks for feedback on specific skills (like organizing, reasoning, listening) of a colleague.
The tool worked fine for a while until we started to seriously embrace Holacracy. GRID360 fell short on giving feedback on roles, focussing solely on the person energizing that role. We found ourselves looking for a situation where feedback on a personal level was separated from feedback on the way that a role is fulfilled. In other words, we wanted a tool that would allow us to separate role from soul.
For this purpose, we set out to build Flindt, a tool that would facilitate giving and receiving feedback in different spaces (tribe, role, organization, personal). Of course we want other companies who face the same issues with feedback tools to be able to try Flindt as well so we made it open source.
The MVP and integrations
For the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) we defined a small set of features we wanted to implement. We limited ourselves to the personal and the role space, leaving the tribe and organizational feedback for later. We rely on GlassFrog to do the governance bookkeeping (role and user imports) and on Google to do the user administration (login/authentication). Because GlassFrog is our current go-to Holacracy app, we decided it would be convenient to use their API to import users, roles and circles into Flindt.
We have also built a nice Slack integration, which will send messages when a feedback round starts, when an admin sends a feedback reminder, or when people give or rate feedback.
Start a feedback round
As an admin, you can start a round with specific people and/or roles, and you’re able to choose whether you would like people to give feedback on roles only or on individuals as well. For both role and individual feedback, people will only be requested to give feedback on people that are in the same circles.
The feedback-on-feedback model
The feedback-on-feedback model is a good way to let each other know how valuable and recognizable the feedback feels, and how someone interprets the feedback given. If the receiver thinks the feedback given is not valuable at all and/or very unrecognizable, we hope to spark a conversation between the sender and receiver to resolve the unclarities.
Don’t forget the personal part
As said before, we also value people being able to say something to each other on a personal level. We’re all people and only rating how well someone performs in a role feels a bit abstract. Because a lot of people find it hard to formulate an opinion, we decided to use metaphors for people to rate each other. These metaphors will hopefully invoke a sense of creativity which will make it easier for people to write down their opinion.
A couple of examples from these metaphors are: “If this person was a car, what kind would that be?” or: “If the person you’re giving feedback to would be a superhero, what superhero would he/she be?”
We haven’t fully researched if these metaphors are actually doing what we’re hoping for because we only did a couple of feedback rounds. But the reactions of people are good so far!
What do you think?
We’d like to know your thoughts about giving feedback in a Holacracy company. Does Flindt sound like something that can contribute to a more open and clear feedback process? Is it missing something crucial for feedback in your Holacracy company? Let us know in the comments below!