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Play of the month: Sparring can dramatically improve your work. Does your team do it regularly?

Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Jan 20, 2021

Want to produce better work? Allow it to be challenged. 

The thought of sharing work in progress and asking for feedback can be scary. It’s a vulnerable situation to put yourself in... and what if it ends up creating more work? We don’t have to wonder why seeking feedback isn’t always at the forefront of our minds. But it should be.

Sparring with our teams and coworkers gives us a chance to gather quick, honest feedback, within a structured and safe setting. While receiving critical feedback can be tough, we have to remember, it isn’t personal. Sparring is about improving your work with people who want to help.

(An example of a team Sparring remotely! ⬇️)


Is sparing something you regularly do with your team? If not, would you consider it? Let us know!


@Kristen Roth 

This is a cool idea!! We will include this in our workflow!!

Like Kristen Roth likes this
Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Jan 21, 2021

Let us know how it goes, @Sandesh Shetty! Here's to better work! 🙌

Hi @Kristen Roth 

    I sincerely try, but sometimes the stress of the day to day prevents doing this type of activity

    Sometimes I think that just as there are rules for check-in, check-out, eating, etc., there should as a rule be a space to work on these types of activities with the teams, I think that on a personal and professional level the progress would be great


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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team May 06, 2021

I hear you, @Vero Rivas , and totally agree with you that it would be great if all teams could carve out space to make sure things like sparring happen. I also know it's not always easy to do so!

Would it be possible for your team to try getting together on a set cadence (every other week or even once per month at the start, maybe?) to come together and spar on a project just to see if you're all able to form a habit around it? That way, you might eventually be able to integrate it into your workflows without having it feel disruptive and like you've added stress to your day to day. Just a thought! 

Like G subramanyam likes this
Charlie Misonne Community Leader May 06, 2021

I agree. People working in team can benefit so much from that feedback.

As a person providing feedback the difficlity sits in the phrasing and not making it too personal.

Personally I'm someone who works on my own a lot. I deliver projects for customers without any other colleagues most of the time. And I rarely get any positive/ negative feedback from customers. It would be interesting to organize some kind of retrospective with the customer after even during a project: how is the communiction, are expectations met, do I have the skills you needed, ...

Like Kristen Roth likes this
Kristen Roth Atlassian Team May 06, 2021

Great idea, @Charlie Misonne ! I'm sure you'd learn so much from a retrospective with your customers.

Brant Schroeder Community Leader May 07, 2021

@Kristen Roth Great article.  Great teams share.  The best teams I have been on are not afraid to share and get their information out there.  They create a safe environment and everyone understands that they can learn from others.  Whether what is being shared teaches others something new or the sharer gets information to help them improve it is all about being better and improving as a team.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team May 20, 2021

Yes, yes, and more yes, Brant! 🙌

@Kristen Roth thank you for the topic. I think for developers the task which really requires cooperation is making estimates for tasks. Even for small projects we always do it in a couple (at least). First developer prepares WBS and estimates for as small tasks as possible. The second developer is challenging the first one with multiple questions so the estimate can be precise.

Like Kristen Roth likes this
Fadoua Community Leader May 08, 2021

I definitely agree that negative feedback is not always a bad thing, it gives us the opportunity to improve and advance. I rather have my coworker or Manager give me an honest feedback than making it look all good to be surprised during the yearly review.

Like Kristen Roth likes this
Kristen Roth Atlassian Team May 20, 2021

For sure, @Fadoua . Thanks for chiming in!

G subramanyam Community Leader May 10, 2021

Excellent post and sparring screenshot @Kristen Roth 

excellent gif.jpg

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Laura Holton Community Leader May 10, 2021

Another great play @Kristen Roth, let the healthy dose of sparring begin!

Like # people like this

Hi @Kristen Roth , 

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. 

And great opportunity to try it

Like Kristen Roth likes this
M Amine Community Leader May 30, 2021

great play

Greetings community!

Reviewing some of these "new" plays, I wonder at how many of them seem like rebrandings of existing ideas from Liberating Structures, Management 3.0, Innovation Games, and the works of Jean Tabaka, Alistair Cockburn, R. Brian Stanfield, etc., yet without referencing those sources.  Perhaps I am missing something.  


Kishan Sharma Community Leader Jul 26, 2021

Nice idea to gather feedback from diverse teams!

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Hana Kučerová Community Leader Aug 02, 2021

I think the feedback is also about the timing, especially if something really went wrong. You should react quickly and discuss the topic, when everybody still remembers the situation and can do something about it.

Like Kristen Roth likes this
Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Aug 02, 2021

Absolutely, @Hana Kučerová !

Svenja Rising Star Aug 03, 2021

I like to receive feedback and I often share my unfinished work with my team mates or co-workers. They often have great thoughts which help me to stay creative. I also like, how sometimes, the new point of view helps me to understand a new perspective.

So, whenever I can I ask for input and I'm always very thankful when someone takes the time to give me valuable feedback. Even though it may be negative.

Like # people like this
Benjamin Community Leader Sep 07, 2021

@Kristen Roth : I find that feedback is invaluable. Sometimes, you are so deep in thought, you may not see something if you had a fresh pair of eyes looking at the problem. Plus, someone else can arrive at the solution from another angle or perspective that could be better that you haven't considered. 



Like Kristen Roth likes this

I like the concept, trying to balance values of honesty, integrity but also assertiveness and constructive feedback


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