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
Today I had a lightning talk at the ACE!Conference in Krakow (as you probably know, I’m a lightning talk addict ;)) and talked about seven Agile Myths. You’ll hear about these myths most of the time on management level, but some of them can be found on the development level, too. IMHO it’s important to be aware of these myths to be prepared for possible discussions.
Agile = No documentation
This is one of the most famous myths and I think we have to blame the agile manifesto for this. The line “Working software over comprehensive documentation” is often misunderstood with no documentation at all. But how could agile Frameworks like Scrum survive in highly regulated environments like the medical or financial industry if this would be right. For sure there is documentation, but we don’t waste time on documents that deliver no value to the project.
Have you ever been sitting in a sprint planning and heard the following sentences:
“Can we split this user story and at least start with the GUI?”
“I’m not sure if the hardware will be available on time to integrate this story but we could use an emulator instead.”
“There are no wire frames yet, but we could start with the back-end.”
“The acceptance criteria are still quite vague, but I think I know what the customer needs.”
Does some of these sentences sound familiar? I observed these conversations several times in the past. All of these quotes are based on the same problem: The user story is simply not ready for the next sprint.