The Happiness Door: another Management 3.0 #workout

Door with sticky notes

Today I started using another of the Management 3.0 #workouts: the Happiness Door. At the beginning of a workshop I facilitated around the subject of Story Mapping, I showed all participants the “Feedback Wall”, although it was actually a door. I had put 5 post-its on the door, each with a different smiley face on it. At the top was a happy smiley (a really happy one), at the bottom a very sad one. The one in the middle had a typical ‘Meh’ face.

I explained that the Feedback Wall provides all participants a way to provide me with feedback about the session. I made sure to tell them putting an empty note on the wall is okay, but that additional comments are welcomed.

At the end of the 1,5 hour session, I reminded everyone about the Feedback Wall, and urged them to put a post-it on the wall. Unfortunately, we had to leave the room rather quickly, which (I suspect) led to some people not putting up a post-it. Still, in the end, just over half of the participants put up post-its, two of which were empty.

I’m very happy to see most of the post-its ended up at the top of the door (see photo). There was one “meh” comment, which was more about the time of the session than the quality or contents. So overall, I’m pretty happy with these results.

After taking some photos of the door, I took down the post-its making sure I kept them grouped together so I’d know the happiness level of each of them.

Here are a few observations I had regarding the Happiness Door:

  • It is a very low-threshold way to provide feedback, especially since it’s not necessary to write down anything. Putting up a post-it on the door is enough. I’m confident I will be using this technique in more meetings or workshops.
  • Some people did take the opportunity to provide additional feedback by writing down some comments. That was very valuable, because it adds nuance: someone may feel it was a good session (happy face smiley), but would like to add something they missed. It’s another layer of feedback.
  • Not everyone put up a post-it. I’m pretty sure it’s because we were under some pressure to leave the room. It’s also possible some people didn’t want to give feedback at all.
  • I did not explain explicitly that the feedback would be anonymous (no need to write down a name). Perhaps this has also led to some people not putting up a note. I will definitely explain this next time.
  • I wanted a header above the smiley faces, and I chose the text ‘Feedback Wall’. Next time I might actually use Happiness Door, or Happiness Wall, if it’s a wall. Using feedback seemed more ‘logical’ in a way, but in hindsight I requested people to rate their Happiness about the workshop (perhaps adding additional feedback). So, I might use a different header next time.
  • The written feedback is enormously valuable, and will definitely help me to improve my workshop.


Management 3.0:
Happy Melly: