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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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on Feedback Systems Durable Link to this BLOG
Continuing the thread on feedback systems,

Feedback and Product Development

When I (a software developer) was younger, I felt that customer feedback -- especially in the context of new product development -- was a deterrent to innovation. It still might be in some situations, but over years I have corrected my position, and have learnt to listen to customers and patrons.

Turns out that if you carefully choose whom to listen, they (customers and patrons) are full of product development ideas for you -- both incremental as well as radical. One just has to be smart to distinguish the good ideas from the junk feedback.

True Peer Review: A Process for Processing Feedback

If you are in product development business, and solicit feedback you get a lot of it (especially if the solicitation is accompanied by goodies of value like free lunch). Traditionally, the companies went through a process of reviewing and summarizing the feedback thus received before decision making. But the people reviewing the feedback did not have the same perspective as the originators of the feedback, and many bad ideas were pursued while some good ones were not.

The new trend in feedback processing is true peer review. The principle is simple - if the idea came from a doctor, get it reviewed by another doctor; if the feedback came from a customer, get it reviewed by another customer. If you see a competitor implement a radical new feature, don't ask your customers about it, but rely on an internal process to review the feature.

I have discovered tremendous value in true peer reviews. It is democracy working its might into a business process -- state senators don't decide national policies and the congressmen don't vote on country issues -- it is wonderful.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, August 31, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

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