Better retrospectives

Posted on Posted in personal improvement

Everybody is highlighting the importance of Retrospectives saying that this is the main tool for the Team
and Scrum Master to learn and adapt on their way to Agility or whatever you want to …

But I just had no chance to not agree with this because in any book I was reading I could find a similar statement: “Retrospectives are very valuable learning tool”. But to be honest I had controversial feelings about this “tool” (the same as my colleagues) and it was quite difficult to make it 100% useful.

We were doing retrospective in a standard way, each person loudly says what was good, bad and what need to be improved.

My frustration regarding this approach is based on following:

  • No active participation from all team members, despite the fact that everyone is encouraging others to talk
  • All people that are talking after the first person basically tend to agree to what is already shared
  • Not all opinions/suggestions are shared
  • If you have one louder (more active) person that you will get into a situation that you have a monologue

You might say that Scrum Master must solve all these issues … Well, yes. But more structure approach and not ad hoc is needed.

And recently I found very interesting article – http://agileaction.blogspot.com/2011/03/agile-retrospectives-hey-scrummaster.html

And it opened my eyes! What an elegant way to “FORCE” everyone to participate in retrospective actively!
What you get with this approach?

  • Everyone have to think
  • Everyone’s thoughts are first displayed and then grouped and discussed (not like in the previous approach where everybody agrees with the first person)
  • You get a discussion on aligning understanding of some items
  • And the best part – team votes on what they want (makes more sense) to improve next sprint.

Tried this today with the team and seems to be that everybody liked that. So, looks promising…

p.s. Looking forward reading the whole book – “Making Good Teams Great”

p.p.s. this approach is also good for brand new team members

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