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Fred Wilson

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Continuous Feedback

Posted: 11/16/11 10:46 AM ET

We have a portfolio company that will remain nameless that does something I want to call out as super awesome. Every board meeting, as homework after the meeting, they ask each board member to fill out a simple Google Form with two questions; three things we are doing well and three things we need to do better. They've been doing that every board meeting that I've been to.

They use this information as part of their continuous feedback loop to improve their management of the business and in turn improve the business. Based on their progress since our investment, I'd say it works pretty well.

This is one example of a larger theme I am noticing in our portfolio and the startup world at large. Companies are using simple web tools to get continuous feedback on their performance. They are using this kind of approach to do performance reviews of everyone in the organization, they are using this kind of approach to get feedback from their customers, and they are using this kind of approach to get feedback from their Board, investors, and advisors.

This makes a ton of sense. Startups are rapidly changing systems. If you use an annual review cycle, you aren't getting feedback at the same pace that you need to adapt and change the business. Doing this kind of thing continuously matches the frequency of the feedback loop with the frequency of the business.

I've written in the past about continuous deployment and how I have seen that work really well at some of our portfolio companies. Continuous feedback leverages many of the same principals and has many of the same advantages. If you haven't tried this approach, you might want to. From what I've seen, it works.

This post originally appeared on AVC.com.