Imagine a team learning from its mistakes and celebrating its successes. Where everyone is honest with themselves and others, eschewing big egos and embracing new perspectives.
Now imagine this baked into the team’s regular schedule. Does that sound like a recipe for success?
The “Retrospective” is an Agile process that embodies the idea of continuous improvement and quality. Today, I share how Retros work, how to do them, what to look out for and why they can fail.
Why have Retrospectives?
Well, I bet you already do!
Are you the kind of person who makes a list of New Year’s resolutions? You might spend December reflecting on the past year and creating goals for the next one.
Or do you get introspective when the big changes happen? New baby, lost job, new house. These events can trigger us to consider everything else going on in our personal life and start to plan better for the future.
You might even do it every day: over a cup of coffee before work or talking with your partner before turning off the lights.
We might not notice it but outside of work, we are actually conducting Retrospectives. Not formally, of course, but the act of reviewing our problems and finding solutions for them holds the very same essence as to why we do Retros.
In the video below, I show diagrams that show how Retros can change your mental models so you gain a bit of a different perspective from what you had on your last iteration. Different perspectives let you think outside the box and be more innovative. They help you come up with the right solution rather than just any solution.
The sad reality (it doesn’t have to be yours)
Tragically, Retros are usually the activity done worst in Agile teams.
This is mostly because teams are often tired at the end of a sprint. People like to have a breather before the new one begins. So when a Retro is conducted, many Agile teams make the mistake of not spending enough time for it, or perform it in a way that nothing really useful is produced from the discussion. They’re only doing it because they “have to”.
Four Way to Conduct a Retro That’s Worthy of World Retrospective Day
I’ll tell you how to deal with this, and the four ways you can conduct your Retrospectives, in the video below.