The new year has just started and it’s time for the next steps to rile your team mates. So let’s have a look at one of the activities in Scrum that can be easily sabotaged: the retrospective. Here are 10 proofed ways to wreck any retrospective:
Keep the retrospective as short as possible. No need to invest too much time in this meaningless gathering.
Only focus on negative events and ignore any positive things. This is the only valid path to improvement.
Handle a retrospective as any other meeting. Sit around a table and just talk.
Ignore the complexity of the system around you. There is always a cause and effect.
Last week I talked at the ALE Bathtub conference about the evolution of retrospectives. Fortunately, the talk was taped so that I can share it with you. I hope you’ll like it. I’m already looking forward to your comments.
Last week I talked about “Spicing up you retrospective” at the ALE2012. I did a similar talk in June at the ACE!Conference in Krakow. But after the talk in Krakow I had a chat with Bob Marshall and he pointed out that fun isn’t the (only) answer to make retrospectives better. He also pointed me to a blog post were he wrote about these issues. So, the following article is mainly based on his ideas.
For me, there are two main retrospective challenges:
Create a motivating environment and keep the people them engaged
Work on the identified items
On first sight it seems that these two challenges may be caused by:
Repetition –> Boring Retros
Same problems –> No effect
Tasks are not visible
Tasks are too big
But these are only the things you see on the surface, if you dig deeper you’ll find the real root causes.
IMHO, the main root cause is a missing purpose. Any retrospective without a purpose is a complete waste of time. (the same applies for any other meeting). It doesn’t make sense to change your retrospectives regularly and introduce new ideas as long as there is no purpose behind. But how can you inject purpose into your retrospectives? The answer is: by using hypotheses. To do so I adapted the original retrospective flow by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby the following way: Continue reading Inject Purpose Into Retrospectives→
Last week I spoke at my favorite agile conference of the year in Krakow, Poland: The ACE!Conference. If you haven’t been there yet, you have to be there next year. I’m quite sure it will be even better than this year. I talked about my hobbyhorse: Retrospectives. Here is the video of the talk I gave:
It’s about time for a new list. Today, I decided to write a list on how to mess up your retrospective. There are a lot of possibilities to do this and the following tips will help you doing so 😉
1 – don’t prepare anything
As the retrospective is the simplest and least important meeting of all Scrum meetings, it doesn’t need any preparation. Just come together and start. Wait, where are the pens and the post-its? Forget about it! Just sit together and chat a bit.
2 – Start immediately
As there is no need to set the stage, start immediately with gathering data. Immediately start the retrospective with asking the two questions: “What went wrong?” and “What went well”. That should be sufficient to get great results.
3 – Don’t check if the tasks of the last Retro were done
We don’t care about the old crap from the last retrospective. If it was important enough, it will make it again to our retrospective results. And again, and again, and again, and again….
4 – don’t use post its
Post Its are evil! Endless trees have to die to create this evildoing. You have silent and introvert people in your team? Then maybe it is time for them to learn to speak up. It also helps to reduce all of this retrospective waste, with all of these things that can’t be solved anyway.
5 – Forget about the Insight
Insight? Isn’t it clear why you failed in your last sprint? Maybe you should also skip the “Gather data” step and instantly start to “Decide what to do”.
6 – No DUE date
Due dates are for waterfallers. As we’re working in an agile environment, we don’t need any due dates.
7 – no responsible
Repeat after me: “We’re no waterfallers”. A responsible person is a concept from the stone age. We as a team will make sure that the task will be done.
8 – No time box
This whole concept of a time box is exhausting, isn’t it? Can’t we just skip it for the retrospective? Just sit together and talk and for sure we will have something valuable in the ehh, when it is over, eventually…
9 – try to solve everything
You collected a big list of issues? Then you should try to solve all of them. It can’t be that you ignore some of the problems of the last sprint. Define a task for each identified impediment or problem and solve it in the next sprint.
10 – Always use the same scheme
Always ask the same questions and do the same exercises in all of your retrospectives. This will create a comfy environment for your team and you ensure that you’ll always have a energized and creative team. Your retrospective results will be awesome. Ignore all of this fancy new methods to facilitate a retrospective. This is all new age shit.
I’m looking forward to your experiences, when trying these things out. Please leave a comment