At our last company-wide get together, we had our first “roast” of 37signals products. We invited everyone there to get up in front of the room and rip on something in a 37signals app: a flow that was confusing, a form that could be streamlined, a UI that was ugly, copy that didn’t make sense, etc.

It was enlightening. In large part, that’s because it forced a shift in perspective. Instead of feeling bad about pointing out a flaw, it became your job. And that gave everyone an excuse to rip on something without worrying about hurt feelings, seeming too negative, or the issue being something outside the scope of what you normally work on. Everyone understood the spirit of the roast and felt free to take a jab.

For example, there was a Javascript bug that came along with importing Writeboards into Basecamp. It had been around for a while, but we hadn’t gotten around to it since customers hadn’t complained about it. But the pain of seeing it in action during the roast spurred us to fix it anyway. Without that discussion, it might have just lingered on.

If you’re looking for an honest conversation that might reveal things you’re not seeing already, try a roast.