Better Retrospectives – Happiness Histogram

Posted on Posted in management, process

Effectiveness of retrospectives is still important topic for me because i don’t always see that people come out after retro with good action plan. As I was writing previously here retrospectives are very important for agile teams. They help us to look back and find ways for improvement…

Main struggle for a Scrum Master is to make people talk. We noticed that the approach described in my previous post will not necessarily lead to a discussion with good action plan (at least in our case). People sometimes complain that they have no ideas 🙂 IMHO, it happens because we are just sometimes lazy…
That’s why Scrum Masters in our teams started to look for better/additional approaches of facilitating retrospectives.

And we found it – Happiness Histogram. We selected following topics:

  • Teamwork
  • Team Performance
  • !Noise
  • Meeting yearly targets/roadmap
  • Communication with other teams
  • Internal communication

We use histograms in addition to previously described method. Workflow is the following:

  1. Team members fill in histogram with their results
  2. Team discusses results and tries to understand trends of overall mood in the team
  3. After that team continues a retrospective with previously selected approach. But they are full of ideas now 🙂

Why do I think these two approaches work better together:

  • Histograms allow people to relax and express their feelings in numbers about certain topics
  • Good approach to remember global goals and see how we approach them
  • After good initial conversation it is easier to sit down and come up with actions for Start, Stop and Continue …
  • Combining things rocks! You will never get bored…

2 thoughts on “Better Retrospectives – Happiness Histogram

  1. Looks like a useful and engaging way to set the stage for further data gathering (reviewing burndown charts, product demo feedback, etc.). Helping team members relax and turn their attention to the iteration history often has the effect you describe, multiplying the number of ideas team members can offer. Congratulations!

  2. We also noticed that if the same approach is applied for a Retrospective it becomes boring for the team. That’s why we always look for new things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *