Ana Balica

Hi, I'm Ana.

I'm a software developer. I mostly do Python. This blog is about my adventures with code, travel experiences and relevant life events. I try not to take myself too seriously.

Here's what I'm doing now.

Occasionally I give talks.

Please don't take my words for granted, because Internet is full of bad advice, and I might be part of it inadvertently.

How to feedback

These are some things I learned over the years about feedback.


Never loose focus on why we give and receive feedback. We do that because we want to help others excel and to better ourselves. Further below I break it down into 2 parts: giving via Situation-Behaviour-Impact model and receiving via Listen-Explore-Echo (not a coined term, sort of my interpretation).


It only works if the feedback is heard and understood by the receiver. So it matters what you say and how you deliver it. I like SBI, because it’s simple, effective and it reduces bias.

SBI breaks down the feedback into 3 components:

  • Situation - this is something that happened at a certain time and at a specific location. Normally both the giver and the receiver can agree on it as a fact. Example: “During the team meeting last Monday we were discussing the project X plan for the next quarter.”
  • Behaviour - describe the behaviour that you’ve observed. What did the other person do? Avoid your personal interpretations and don’t try to guess their motivation. Example: “When person Y was talking about a design approach, you interrupted them mid-sentence.”
  • Impact - explain how did the behaviour in that particular situation affected you, the team, the organisation. It doesn’t have to be quantifiable impact, you can talk about your emotional state in that situation. Optionally you can offer a solution. Example: “I felt that you didn’t give them a chance to fully express their idea and that might impair their desire to share with the team in the future.”


Giving feedback is damn challenging, receiving - even more so. You have to suppress the natural fight-or-flight response and not get instantly angry or defensive.

This is my made-up feedback response model:

  • Listen - don’t interrupt or start making excuses, give space and time for the other person to share their thoughts. If you can, take notes (albeit might be rude in some situations), because in the current state of mind it’s hard to keep track of everything. Your mind will want to cling to one particular thing and it will loose focus. This is a reason why people often prefer written down feedback, as they can take their time to process it.
  • Explore - don’t assume, ask. Feedback comes in all shapes and sizes, so sometimes you need to poke at it a little bit more. Your end goal is to understand what the other person is trying to tell you, so go ahead and ask questions.
  • Echo - finally repeat back the feedback and ask if you got it right. This solidifies your mutual understanding of the situation, helps avoid any misinterpretations and sends a positive signal to the other person that they are being heard. If you can, you might start discussing solutions.

Closing thoughts

These models are just guidance. Whether it’s face to face (which is my personal preference) or in written form, you can adapt and shape these models accordingly. Do you have a different approach? Let me know!

Remember, feedback is hard. Change is hard. You’re doing your best. Keep at it!