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Role of Retrospectives
           in
Success of Agile Projects
Bapiraju Nandury
Curam Software
Objective

  • Not “just-another-boring-theory-session”!

  • Information YOU can use

  • Interactive




               ...
Agenda

 • Introduction to Retrospectives
    – What?
    – Why?


 • Case Study
    – Why did we feel a need for this pra...
Introduction
      to
Retrospectives
Introduction to Retrospectives

  • “Project Management is like driving a car”
     – Continuous (and instantaneous) corre...
Introduction to Retrospectives

  • What is a Retrospective (rèt´re-spèk-tîv)?


        “A ritual held at the end of a pr...
Introduction to Retrospectives

  • What is a Retrospective?



      “Retrospective is an event held at the end of a
    ...
Introduction to Retrospectives

  • Purpose

    – Very old idea, not a new one

    – Learn from past experiences (succes...
Introduction to Retrospectives

  • Prime directive

      “Regardless of what we discover, we
      understand and truly ...
Introduction to Retrospectives

  • Ground Rules

    – We will try not to interrupt each other

    – We will accept ever...
Introduction to Retrospectives

    • What happens in a project retrospective?

           – Facilitator kick-starts the s...
Introduction to Retrospectives

  • The Four Key Questions*

    – What did we do well, that if we don’t discuss we might ...
Retrospectives
A Case Study
Retrospectives – A Case Study

  • Project Context

     – Case study of a project in one of my earlier companies (2003-’0...
Retrospectives – A Case Study

  • We were desperately looking for ideas




  • And we were told that there’s a “choice”!...
Retrospectives – A Case Study

  • Retrospectives practice was a break through for us

  • Negative energy was converted i...
Challenges and their resolution

  • Configuration Issues

  • Forced implementation

  • Lack of confidence in the dev te...
Challenges and their resolution

  • Configuration Issues

          Challenge                                            ...
Challenges and their resolution

  • Forced implementation

          Challenge                                           ...
Challenges and their resolution

  • Lack of confidence

          Challenge                                             R...
Challenges and their resolution

  • Rotation of stakeholders

          Challenge                                        ...
Challenges and their resolution

  • Inadequate development process

          Challenge                                  ...
Challenges and their resolution

  • Technical Challenge

          Challenge                                             ...
How to run
effective
Retros?
Effective Retrospectives
                                      The Big Picture
                                      Sourc...
Effective Retrospectives

  • Prerequisites

     – Sell to the team

     – Ground rules

     – Agree on “Prime Directiv...
Get the best out of Retros!

  • Tips and Tricks

     – Have courage to embrace change

     – Collect data from project
...
Get the best out of Retros!

  • Tips and Tricks

     – Have an external facilitator

     – Work aids – Charts, pens/pen...
Get the best out of Retros!

  • Tips and Tricks

     – Improve quality of project and also lives of people on it

     –...
Lessons Learnt

  • A practice that we learnt, will never forget in life,
    will keep doing it for continuous improvemen...
References

 • http://www.retrospectives.com/

 • “Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team
   Reviews” by Norman L Ker...
Thank You

Questions/Comments
        bnandury@curamsoftware.com
        http://nandury.blogspot.com
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Role of Retrospectives in Success of Agile Project

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Transcript of "Role of Retrospectives in Success of Agile Project"

  1. 1. Role of Retrospectives in Success of Agile Projects Bapiraju Nandury Curam Software
  2. 2. Objective • Not “just-another-boring-theory-session”! • Information YOU can use • Interactive © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  3. 3. Agenda • Introduction to Retrospectives – What? – Why? • Case Study – Why did we feel a need for this practice? – What challenges did we overcome? • How to run effective Retros? – Ground rules – Tips and Tricks © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  4. 4. Introduction to Retrospectives
  5. 5. Introduction to Retrospectives • “Project Management is like driving a car” – Continuous (and instantaneous) correction based on feedback! Hey, Baps! Time to prove yourself!! Great project for you – no clear requirements nor allocated resources. Get the job done by next week, dude! © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  6. 6. Introduction to Retrospectives • What is a Retrospective (rèt´re-spèk-tîv)? “A ritual held at the end of a project to learn from the experience and to plan changes for the next effort” http://www.retrospectives.com © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  7. 7. Introduction to Retrospectives • What is a Retrospective? “Retrospective is an event held at the end of a period with measurable deliverable(s) to review the history, learn from experiences and plan for the future. It’s intended to discover, share and pass along the learning experience” Bapiraju © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  8. 8. Introduction to Retrospectives • Purpose – Very old idea, not a new one – Learn from past experiences (success/failure) – “Is your organization good at acquiring and using its wisdom in creating software?” – Norman Kerth – “Making lemons from lemonade” – Norman Kerth © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  9. 9. Introduction to Retrospectives • Prime directive “Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand” Norman Kerth © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  10. 10. Introduction to Retrospectives • Ground Rules – We will try not to interrupt each other – We will accept everyone's opinion without judgment – We will talk from our own perspective, not from anyone else's – We will turn off our mobile phones – Participation is optional © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  11. 11. Introduction to Retrospectives • What happens in a project retrospective? – Facilitator kick-starts the session, explains objectives py ap H – Manager gives concise account of events occurred Eve – Color-coded cards filled in by the team nts – Answer 4 key questions and draw “Emotional Seismograph” – Appreciation and wish-list Fr us tra nts tio eme n iev Ach © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  12. 12. Introduction to Retrospectives • The Four Key Questions* – What did we do well, that if we don’t discuss we might forget? – What did we learn? – What should we do differently next time? – What still puzzles us? *Source: http://www.retrospectives.com © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  13. 13. Retrospectives A Case Study
  14. 14. Retrospectives – A Case Study • Project Context – Case study of a project in one of my earlier companies (2003-’04) – Unhappy, forceful client – Not “appealing” work for devs – Brand new team – new hires – Complex domain and lack of knowledge – Confusion and frustration – No “Different” from a typical offshore project! ☺ © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  15. 15. Retrospectives – A Case Study • We were desperately looking for ideas • And we were told that there’s a “choice”! © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  16. 16. Retrospectives – A Case Study • Retrospectives practice was a break through for us • Negative energy was converted into positive energy • WYTIWYG – WhatYouThinkIsWhatYouGet ☺ • Table all the concerns and brainstorm for solutions • Continually track progress (daily stand-ups) © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  17. 17. Challenges and their resolution • Configuration Issues • Forced implementation • Lack of confidence in the dev team • Rotation of stakeholders • Inadequate development processes • Technical challenges © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  18. 18. Challenges and their resolution • Configuration Issues Challenge Resolution • Config issues to be • Explicit resolved by client – as communication per contract – but, • Share data like hours never done spent fixing issues rather than actual dev • Classification of issues • Methodological approach to solve issues • “Blame culture” • Proactive attitude © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  19. 19. Challenges and their resolution • Forced implementation Challenge Resolution • No technical expertise • Found the need to with client increase level of confidence • Over communication • Suggestions that led us nowhere • Technical solutions explained in plain English • Forced • Reduce response time implementation, that for questions the team hated © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  20. 20. Challenges and their resolution • Lack of confidence Challenge Resolution • Unpleasant history • Communicate, communicate and OVER COMMUNICATE • Client lost confidence • Transparency in in team process – daily status mails, wiki updates • Dev team was under • Share daily schedules pressure as even with ALL the simple things had to stakeholders be done with extreme • Wiki care © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  21. 21. Challenges and their resolution • Rotation of stakeholders Challenge Resolution • Stakeholders at client • Let client know about organization moved the problem around without a proper transition plan • Local resource – stepped up as “client” • Mostly BAs and QAs • Explore ways to • Communication gap increase domain knowledge © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  22. 22. Challenges and their resolution • Inadequate development process Challenge Resolution • Complex domain • Follow agile – XP • Rapid feedback • Difficulty in getting • Weekly Retrospectives started – after closure of iteration • QA pairing – between • “No Documentation”! India and US for domain knowledge • No crosspollination © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  23. 23. Challenges and their resolution • Technical Challenge Challenge Resolution • Rigid design • Pair programming to crack design issues • Inflexible architecture • Ask for help • QA servers not in sync • Phased solution for QA environment sync • Non-identical QA environments between dev and client, which • Test Automation made tests unreliable © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  24. 24. How to run effective Retros?
  25. 25. Effective Retrospectives The Big Picture Source: http://industrialxp.org Seismograph Timeline Source: http://www.agilexp.com © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  26. 26. Effective Retrospectives • Prerequisites – Sell to the team – Ground rules – Agree on “Prime Directive” – Open-minded team – Experienced facilitator – Preparation © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  27. 27. Get the best out of Retros! • Tips and Tricks – Have courage to embrace change – Collect data from project – Create a “timeline” of events – Use different colors for cards – Try “Emotional Seismograph”, it was useful for us – Do not encourage personal jokes or criticism © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  28. 28. Get the best out of Retros! • Tips and Tricks – Have an external facilitator – Work aids – Charts, pens/pencils, color coded cards, tape etc. – Post on walls – Conduct retrospectives at the end of every iteration – Keep the process simple and lightweight – Build people, so that they can build projects (appreciate) © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  29. 29. Get the best out of Retros! • Tips and Tricks – Improve quality of project and also lives of people on it – Encourage continuous learning – Help to change perceptions – Invite spectators from other projects – Post results visibly – ideally where standup happens – Do not lose focus © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  30. 30. Lessons Learnt • A practice that we learnt, will never forget in life, will keep doing it for continuous improvement • Think out-of-the-box and have fun err..24… How many January 2nd, 22nd seconds in a February 2nd,22nd year? …… © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  31. 31. References • http://www.retrospectives.com/ • “Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews” by Norman L Kerth © Copyright 2006 Cúram Software Limited
  32. 32. Thank You Questions/Comments bnandury@curamsoftware.com http://nandury.blogspot.com
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