A colleague of mine, Jason Tanner, recently brought in a feedback technique called the “Perfection Game” that I had learned of a while  ago but had never had an opportunity to utilize.  Its been a great and helpful tool for us in many aspects.

I’m not positive of the origin, by I learned about it from Michele McCarthy and the Core Protocols.  On their site you can read through the official rules of the game (about 1/2 way down the page), but for simplicity here’s the gist of it:

  • Joe offers their item or activity for feedback – this could be a product, a presentation, a document, a dance routine, fresh baked cupcakes, or just about any individual thing upon which he’d like to gather feedback.
  • Sally offers feedback, starting with a rating based on a 1-10 scale (1 being horrible, 10 being perfect).
  • Sally then describes the key things she LIKED about the item or activity.  Note that there must be things they liked as long as the score is above a 1!
  • Sally then describes, in her opinion and experience, what Joe would need to do to earn a 10 from her.  In this case, if Sally cannot think of any way to improve upon Joe’s item, she must give it a 10!
  • Joe thanks Sally for the gift of meaningful feedback and a clear path to perfection.

For example:

Joe: Hi Sally. I’d like to do a dry run of my presentation with you and get your feedback.  Will you play the perfection game with me?

Sally: Sure, I’d be happy to give you feedback.  I love the Perfection Game!

Joe:  Ok, here we go… <presentation> …and that’s my presentation.  Sally, could you share your feedback with me?

Sally: Sure.  I would rate your presentation a 6 out of 10.

Joe: <prepared for a bunch of feedback>

Sally: I liked the way you engaged the audience and went deeper into the points that seemed confusing.  The slides were very crisp and clear, and use a good balance of visuals to convey the talking points you cover verbally. You also had good eye contact without being creepy and you smell very nice today.

Joe: <feeling good about the things he did well, and wonders what he can do to make it even better>

Sally: To make it a 10 for me, you would have to reduce the number of slides and shorten the length of the meeting from 1 hour to 30 minutes to keep my attention focused.  I would also like see some content on the projections for 4th quarter and recognition of the economic conditions impacting the industry.  Lastly, I’d prefer that you lose the tie, comb your hair, and button your shirt a little higher – your chest hair can be a bit distracting.

Joe: Thank you so much Sally!  I’ll give this another iteration based on your feedback, and will probably shave my chest hair to boot!  Maybe that’s what’s been holding me back from that big promotion!

We’ve seen this technique work quite well in real life scenarios, specifically with mentoring new Agile Coaches at Capital One.



Agile coaches often utilize different modes depending on the situation in which we find themselves.  Here are some of the typical “hats” we wear:

Agile Coaching Modes

In a word...
ConsultingUsing your knowledge, experience, expertise and skills to do the work and provide the answer.DoerFishing
TrainingDirective instruction on a specific topic based on a predetermined curriculum.InstructorTeaching them to fish.
FacilitatingStimulation through creation of an environment and agreed upon guiderails in which participants lead the learning process through inquiry, self-reflection, and/or group interaction.EnablerProviding the boat, fishing pole, hooks, bait and a book on fishing so they can figure out for themselves how to fish
CoachingChallenging the person to achieve their vision of success through identification and guided achievement of intermediate goals by providing the right feedback or the right question at the right time to enable new ways of thinking and self-realization by the participant.MirrorShow them the way they are currently fishing and challenge them to improve in order to become the best damn fisherman they can be.
MentoringSharing experiences and advising the participant from the position of having deeper experience or expertise and being a model for the participant’s vision.Role ModelBeing the top fisherman in the village, sharing experiences, and advising the aspiring fisherman on how to achieve a similar result.

The inaugural Agile Indy Conference will take place in Indianapolis, IN on March 8th, 2013. Project Brilliant is a Platinum sponsor of the event. Aaron Kopel, Managing Partner at Project Brilliant, will join several well known speakers from across the Agile spectrum, including Christophe Avery, Johanna Rothman, Chet Hendrickson & Ron Jeffries, Tom Mellor, and others in brining the focus of the Agile universe to Indianapolis for a day.

Aaron’s talk will cover scaling Agile to large enterprises with focus on the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) developed by Dean Leffingwell, and including first hand experience from Aaron’s recent work with Capital One as the Lead Agile Coach for their Enterprise Transformation to Agile.

Its sure to be a great event, we hope to see you there!

For more information and registration visit www.AgileIndyConf.com.