Feedback is a difficult but important part of collaboration across teams. At Loom, they’ve implemented an impressive suite of tools for discussing feedback, team alignment, and goal management altogether.
Loom is a video messaging platform for work and team communications. Founded in 2015, the company now has 10 million users and more than 120,000 corporate customers. Personally, it’s one of our favorite pieces of software we use at Hugo.
In this interview with Anique Drumright, VP of Product at Loom, we gained insight into how coordination and alignment occurs, along with some specifics on their meeting process and how using richer content formats has made her and the team more receptive to feedback.
When it comes to product management, Anique points out there are always multiple perspectives when it comes to decision-making, so it’s essential to provide the tools and environment where everyone is heard:
"With Product specifically, there’s rarely a perfect answer. There's always a tradeoff, and it’s always nuanced. So I think a strong Product organization has a healthy amount of dialogue back and forth. It’s not as if when I say something, the entire team agrees that’s the right perspective. We dialogue around it. And I think that's really important. And of course we use Loom to collaborate asynchronously and not lose any communication nuances over Slack."
Using Loom for feedback is not only convenient for dialogue. It also allows people to absorb feedback better in many cases. Short videos give more room for nuance in terms of nonverbal communication, emotion, and tone of voice, which makes feedback less blunt and more human than a text-based alternative.
Anique also mentioned that using Loom gives her team the opportunity to give upward feedback without the feeling that they are contradicting management. Loom videos allow people to hear the feedback when they want rather than having to react immediately as they might in a synchronous meeting or conversation.
“You get to decide how many times you want to receive the feedback, and the tone of the feedback is so much better than what you would be typing.” The asynchronous nature of video means only relevant team members receive the feedback rather than using the meeting time for anything that wouldn’t be useful for the entire room.
Anique particularly appreciates reviewing the feedback she gets by video when it works for her schedule to watch and respond:
"This week I got tough feedback from one of my team members — not tough in the sense that it was critical but in the sense that it was intellectually challenging feedback that required me to focus and think about it. I watched the loom once and responded that I need to take time to think about it. The great part about Loom is that I can watch it more than once. If that feedback had been delivered in a meeting, no matter how much coaching you might have on receiving feedback, humans are humans, and in that moment you are in a conversation you respond to what you heard the first time, which in this case wasn’t the entire depth of what she had to say. Watching the loom a few times lets you put yourself in the state of mind to hear the feedback and process it."
Another ongoing mechanism for product feedback is through a Slack channel. Feedback on the channel can be from customers or customer service, but the team also provides their own product feedback. Since the entire company uses Loom regularly, the Slack feedback channel provides a continuous stream of information for product improvement.
The Product team impacts every part of Loom, which is rapidly growing. Using Loom for meeting pre-reads makes synchronous collaboration more effective and efficient. These are the regular meetings that keep Loom’s fully remote teams on track:
Maintaining alignment in the product department requires a high level of cross-functional and internal team communication. Anique shared four practices that she finds to be crucial to her effectiveness as a product leader:
The trust that Anique has in her team was clear throughout the interview. Product teams at companies both small and large have a lot to try out here, and with a new year, there’s no better time to experiment than now.