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Sparring

Get quick, honest feedback from the diverse perspectives of your colleagues in a structured and safe setting.

Pencil icon
Prep Time
15 mins
Stopwatch icon
Run Time
30 mins
Connected people icon
People
2-5
People writing on board

Sparring

Get quick, honest feedback from the diverse perspectives of your colleagues in a structured and safe setting.

People writing on board
Pencil
Prep Time
15 mins
Stopwatch icon
Run Time
30 mins
Connected people icon
People
2-5

Sparring

Get quick, honest feedback from the diverse perspectives of your colleagues in a structured and safe setting.

Pencil icon
Prep Time
15 mins
Stopwatch icon
Run Time
30 mins
Connected people icon
People
2-5
People writing on board

Sparring in action

These software developers give feedback on their Product Manager’s planned innovation cycle upgrades.

This HR Director gets the team’s feedback on her draft ‘Healthy Habits’ employee rewards program.

Sticky notes from an events team that sparred on a draft plan for a new virtual guest panel series.

What you'll need

Remote

Video conferencing with screen sharing

Digital collaboration tool (see templates)

In-person

Printouts or screenshare of your work

Whiteboard

Markers

Sticky notes

Timer

Optional templates

Atlassian Templates

Instructions for running this Play

1. Prep 15 MIN

For remote teams, start by creating a new collaboration document, using one of the templates above if you’d like.

Send this document and any other documents which need to be reviewed before the meeting to your attendees. Have your content available digitally, and be prepared to share links or your screen for sparring.

For in-person teams, send any documents which need to be reviewed before the meeting to your attendees. Find a whiteboard, markers, and sticky notes. Print out the content you’d like to spar as large as possible to allow for easy reading and markup.

TIP: ADVANCED READING

Sparring is intentionally short to get a lot of feedback quickly. Send context in advance for attendees to read up on, like customer data or competitive analysis.

2. Set the stage 5 MIN

Start the meeting by:

  • Briefly describing what you’re working on
  • Explaining why you’re looking for feedback and how you’ll use it
  • Outlining what areas you’re looking for feedback on (and what areas you aren’t)
TIP: OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVES

Invite a mix of people familiar with your work and those who aren’t. Outsiders bring fresh perspectives.

3. Gather feedback 10 MIN

Set a timer for 10 minutes. Have attendees review your work and add feedback. This could be things they like, things they’d change, anything they’d get rid of, or any questions they have.

Encourage them to mark up the work itself with markers, sticky notes, or comments. Or, gather notes using one of the templates above.

TIP: SOUND OF SILENCE

Silent writing allows space to think and input from quieter team members. It keeps the focus on feedback instead of discussion.

4. Discuss 10 MIN

Review the team’s feedback. Identify any recurring themes, and discuss your understanding of the feedback to ensure you’re all in agreement about what the feedback is referring to.

Discuss your reasoning behind choices you made in the work, and be open to new ideas for improvement from the team.

TIP: CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM

When giving feedback, acknowledge the positives and provide specific recommendations for how to improve the work.

TIP: GOOD INTENTIONS

Receiving a lot of critical feedback can be tough. Remember it isn’t personal. This is about improving your work with people who want to help.

5. Wrap up 5 MIN

Thank attendees for their participation and feedback. Let them know the next steps you’ll be taking with your work and when they can expect to hear back on your next iteration.


Follow-up

Review the feedback

After the Play, take some time on your own to organize and review the team’s feedback. Follow up with attendees if you have any questions.

Round 2

Once you’ve incorporated the feedback, consider scheduling a second sparring session to further refine your work.

Variations

Leave the room

During the feedback gathering portion, have the presenter leave the room. This allows attendees to focus on writing feedback rather than engaging in discussion with the presenter.

Make it routine

Build a culture of regularly giving and receiving peer feedback. Put a standing spar meeting on the calendar each week or every two weeks where team members can sign up to share their work.


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Still have questions?

Start a conversation with other Atlassian Team Playbook users, get support, or provide feedback.

Still have questions?

Start a conversation with other Atlassian Team Playbook users, get support, or provide feedback.

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