The START Feedback Framework for Managers

PMI Toronto Chapter

Gurpreet is a Senior Project Manager in Toronto. He is an entrepreneurial project management professional with a successful track record in business case development and implementation and delivery of strategic technology projects.

Feedback is an essential tool for project and functional managers to achieve a desired outcome or state. Feedback causes modifications in the behavior or performance of a person or a group, helping to eventually produce the desired outcome or state. When done correctly, results can be achieved quickly.

The closest analogy would be of a control system with a feedback loop used in engineering systems. Feedback loops take the system output into consideration and feed into the input to adjust system performance to meet a desired output. The type (positive or negative) and magnitude of feedback depends upon the difference between desired output and the actual output:

The focus of this article is to elaborate on a feedback framework that can guide the delivery of the feedback to maximize its benefits. The content covering type and magnitude of feedback is not part of the framework as it is situational and would rely on sound judgement of the manager. The framework goes by the acronym START:

     Specific
     Timely
     Actionable
     Respectable
     Timeline for action

Feedback should be specific about something that the team member did or said (or did not do or say). It should be timely to have the most impact, ideally within a week’s time or less. It …

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