Dealing with negative feedback

Its difficult not be angry about negative feedback sent about software that you helped build.

I read through the long list of feedback the customer had shared with us and how line by line she went over parts of the software that she did not like. I cringed after reading every line.

I did agree with most of her feedback. She wanted the software to do the best it could to help her with the task at hand, and in most cases, we were not doing a good job.

How could I have not thought about the page design the way she did? Why did I not add the link there or catch that exception she spoke about? I spent the next hour asking myself these questions and being disappointed about how we went about creating the software.

Software development is hard. It’s even more difficult when you have a small team, with everyone wearing multiple hats. I handle design, frontend/backend development, manage servers, answer supports tickets every day, and I love it. Being involved in every part of the development/support process has been a great learning experience, and I would not have it any other way.

Is this why the software was not doing it’s best? Was everyone in team wearing multiple hats and not giving enough thought to each screen and each feature we work? I took a break from blaming myself and went out for lunch.

Software is also ever evolving. If you think you did your best when coming up with the feature and the design, that’s what was in your control then. Not everyone looks at design and feature use case the same way.

Acting on feedback is essential. Read/listen to every feedback someone sends in about your software. Share it with the team. Go back to the drawing board and look at how you can improve the page/feature.

Sunil Shenoy @sunil
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