There is a quote by John Dewey, "We do not learn from the experience, we learn from reflecting on the experience." Likewise, in 1988 the American sociologist and psychologist Graham Gibbs published a well-known "Reflective Cycle model" in his book named Learning by Doing.
Gibbs Reflective Cycle encourages people to reflect on their experience systematically after having a particular situation, event, or activity encountered. In this blog, we will be using the Gibbs Reflective Model to self-reflect on your personal experience after a product release.
In the software industry, product release is the process of launching a new product or an application. Only a release manager understands the arduous situations they face when you have a bulk of applications (approximately 200) to be released on the same day.
So, after the release, the Gibbs Reflective Cycle aids in analyzing your experience, and using those insights for seamless product release next time.
The Gibbs Reflective Cycle starts with the Description. You initiate this phase with a question What happened? in your mind. Then, start thinking back for the questions listed below:
- When did it happen?
- Did it happen?
- Who was involved?
- What did you do yourself?
- What did others do?
- What were the results of all these actions?
After the first step, we continue onto the Feelings. Start documenting what you were thinking and feeling. Without judging the emotions, answer the following questions:
- What did you feel after the event?
- Since we are sticking to the product launch, what did you feel about this?
- Is it going to be a success?
- If yes, why were the people involved? Or If no, why were the people involved?
- What are your contributions? What are your feelings about it?
- What did you think that others felt during the event?
- How do you look back on the situation?
- What have you learned out of the situation?
Moving on to the third phase Evaluation, you decide whether an experience is a good, bad, or satisfactory. You can further analyze the situation:
- If the experience was good, what was your approach?
- If the experience was not up to the mark, why didn't it work?
- What are the areas of improvement?
- What were your contributions?
- What contributions did other people make?
The fourth phase is Analysis. In this phase, you further focus on what sense can you make of the situation? So you drill down on the following questions:
- What are the learnings you want to go ahead and adopt to understand a product better?
- What can you do better in the future, and what do you need to convey to your team?
The fifth phase is Conclusion. In this phase, you think what else could you have done? Furthermore, answer the following questions for better clarification:
- While expecting a favorable situation, did the activity lead to any negative instances?
- So, what is the overall experience?
Finally, the last phase is Action plan, where you decide on what would you do if the situation arose again? Answer the following questions:
- What skills do you need to work on for similar events?
- What will you do differently next time, and how will you achieve this?
Here, the intension is to make a promise to yourself never to repeat the same mistake.
Thus, these questions help you self-reflect on the situation before and prepare you better for the next product launch. Mandatory and slight changes are highly entertained for seamless product release.