As in agile, we do a retrospective every 2 to 3 weeks, it is very important to make sure it does not become boring and dull.
yes I have done boring retrospectives. (Haven’t we all?)
Last year I gave a talk at Agile Tour Toronto about how to make your retrospectives the heart of your agile proces. That talk was based for 75% on THE book about agile retrospectives. I created this talk as I don’t like bad retrospectives. (And I had done too many of these myself)
It changed a lot for me.
Today I want to write about last week’s retrospective, as an example:
I started with a kind of temperature reading:
– How do you feel inside this team
– How do you feel inside this company
Two numbers (on a scale of 1/10) written anonymous on a piece of paper.
Then I asked everyone to write down one appreciation for another team member.
One rule: you had to talk about someone who was not yet selected.
The appreciation was written on a small green star card.
The appreciation cards at ACCDE10, reminded me of this technique.
Then we did a fist of five on the sprint. How did people felt about the sprint and what we had obtained. Fist (0 fingers) is bad, 5 fingers is the best. We had only 4’s and 5’s.
This team was doing very badly one sprint ago. They had taken on a difficult challenge and they made it. I choose this technique to make them realize this.
Then we did a kind of locate strengths interview.
Team members had 10 minutes to interview another team member on the last sprint.
I gave them a few questions to start with (the questions came of the Agile retrospective book. If you like this technique, you’ll have to buy the book 😉 )
After these 20 minutes, everyone had 1 minute to say what he had learned during this interview. Because I only had one hourglass of 1 minute, it forced people to talk min and max one minute (we had to wait for the hourglass to finish anyway).
For some people the 1 minute was not enough, for others it was too much…
Then I asked people to think for 3 minutes about how they personally wanted to improve the way they worked in the next sprint. Then I gave them another 1 minute to think about how we would be able to see this. And then another minute to think about who could check in with them.
Then they had 30 seconds to talk about their challenge, the way to verify and select a buddy.
As I wanted to do a lot in this retrospective, I used this kind of timeboxing.
After that I invited them to a glass of champagne.
They done great last sprint. Achieving a big challenge should be celebrated.
3 comments on “Example of a retrospective…”
Thanks Arne for the question. I should have put the whole time in there.
This retrospective was 1 hour and 30 minutes. (Not counting the champagne drinking 😉 )
Although I think the team could benefit from having more time, I also like the fact that the hard timeboxing forces them to think faster and not spend too much time “ranting”. This time I preferred to have personal actions so that everyone feels they are responsible. (Instead of the team is responsible.)
This team is part of a large corporation.
In such environment I see a lot of people complaining about what goes wrong everywhere else and not talking about what they can do. By asking them what they personally can do, I want it to make it even more clear they have influence.
Thanks for sharing. I, as you, base facilitation of retrospectives on the great book by Esther and Diana.
One question that pops up while reading your post is: how long was the retrospective in total?
Possible follow up question: what do you belive the team would benefit from having a shorter or longer retrospective.