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Sustainable Improvement through Agile Retrospectives - AgileEE 2015 - Ben Linders


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Buy-in from professionals is crucial to make changes succeed in organizations. Many improvement programs fail when professionals are insufficiently involved during the changes. Agile retrospectives can be used to do continuous and lasting improvements in organizations. They are owned and done by the teams, who decide when, where, and how they will change their way of working. This is why agile retrospectives are a sustainable approach for improvement.

We need to uncover better ways to do improvements in organizations. Use an iterative approach for change with short-cycled improvements and frequent feedback to learn how to improve and get better in doing it. Agile retrospectives are a better way to do continuous improvement. Teams decide when, where, and how they will change their way of working, in stead of having the changes dictated by managers or quality/process people. Retrospectives give power to the teams and help them to become self-organized.

My first book Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives – A Toolbox of Retrospective Exercises contains many exercises that you can use to do retrospectives, supported with the “what” and “why” of retrospectives, the business value and benefits that they can bring you, and advice for introducing and improving retrospectives.

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Sustainable Improvement through Agile Retrospectives - AgileEE 2015 - Ben Linders

  1. 1. 1 Ben Linders Consulting Sustainable Improvement through Agile Retrospectives AgileEE Kiev, March 27, 2015 Ben Linders Consulting
  2. 2. 2 Ben Linders Consulting On the agenda today … • “What” and “why” of Retrospectives • Business Value and Benefits • Environment for Retrospectives • Retrospective Exercises With agile retrospectives teams drive their own actions! Ben Linders
  3. 3. 3 Ben Linders Consulting Agile, Lean, Quality & Continuous Improvement Retrospectives Facilitator Agile Coach/Mentor/Trainer CMMI & People-CMM Assessor Freelance Editor for Ben Linders Co-Author Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives Dutch French Japanese Spanish Italian Chinese Russian Author: What Drives Quality eBook: Download from Amazon, InfoQ or Leanpub Print: Buy on Amazon or Lulu
  4. 4. 4 Ben Linders Consulting State of Practice Agile Retrospectives Doing them? Like doing them? Valuable?
  5. 5. 5 Ben Linders Consulting Agile Retrospectives Practice for teams to reflect on their way of working and to continuously become better in what they do. Focus upon • Team • Self organizing What is an Agile Retrospectives
  6. 6. 6 Ben Linders Consulting 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.”  Norm Kerth Create an Open Culture where team member Speak Up with Respect for each other to Learn and Improve Soft Skills Matter
  7. 7. 7 Ben Linders Consulting Why Retrospectives? To help teams to solve problems and improve themselves! • Becoming Agile and Lean • Make existing processes more Agile • Increase Value of Agile • Less resistance to Change
  8. 8. 8 Ben Linders Consulting
  9. 9. 9 Ben Linders Consulting Environment for Retrospectives Adopting retrospectives is an organizational change where professionals adapt their way of working, their behavior - It won’t just happen, and if not properly supported it may take much time, or even fail. • Purpose • Facilitation • Do and Evaluate Adopting Agile Retrospectives
  10. 10. 10 Ben Linders Consulting Purpose of Retrospectives • Team’s authority and responsibility on how they do their work • No “first time right” • Ok to fail, if you learn from it • Continuous improvement Sustainable Improvement through Agile Retrospectives
  11. 11. 11 Ben Linders Consulting Capable Retrospective Facilitators Effective and Efficient Retrospectives: • Vital few improvement actions • Keep invested time low Facilitated by capable professionals: • Qualified facilitators • Train: Purpose, techniques, skills Agile Improvement • Mentoring & coaching • Share & discuss experiences
  12. 12. 12 Ben Linders Consulting Do and Evaluate Retrospectives • Start with retrospectives in your first iteration • Simple technique: asking questions or boat exercise Evaluate the Retrospective: • Is this useful? • Helps to get a shared understanding? • Do the actions make sense? • Does meeting as a team to reflect feel good? 
  13. 13. 13 Ben Linders Consulting Leading Retrospectives Roles • Facilitator – Servant Leader • Coach – Support Change • Manager – Arrange for Change All roles are needed Play the game together Action is in the interaction
  14. 14. 14 Ben Linders Consulting Business Value Agile retrospectives help teams learn and improve, and increase their business value to their customers and the company Getting more Business Value: • Expectations • Limit Actions • Follow up on Actions Getting Business Value out of Agile Retrospectives
  15. 15. 15 Ben Linders Consulting Expectations for Retrospectives • Effective Teamwork • Better Collaboration • Efficient Process • Improved Velocity / Productivity • Higher Product Quality • Lower Costs • Shorter Lead Time
  16. 16. 16 Ben Linders Consulting Vital Few Actions • Small Actions • Frequent Change • Focus on Value • Stop Starting, Start Stopping • Kanban Short Cycled Improvement
  17. 17. 17 Ben Linders Consulting Follow up on Actions • Visibility • Check status Mentoring & Coaching on Continuous Improvement Making Quality & Process Improvement Visisble Uncovering Better Ways to do Process Improvement Golden Rules for Agile Process Improvement
  18. 18. 18 Ben Linders Consulting Choices
  19. 19. 19 Ben Linders Consulting Toolbox of Retrospective Exercises • Teams differ • Needs vary • More value You can plan a retrospective meeting, and think about the exercise you want to use, but be open to change it on the spot whenever needed. Toolbox of Retrospective Techniques
  20. 20. 20 Ben Linders Consulting Retrospective Exercises • Asking questions • One-word retrospective • Root Cause Analysis • Timeline • Flow and Energy • Asking Why? • Strenghts (Solution Focused) • Perfection game • Action priorities • Retrospective of Retrospectives • Teams with multiple customers • Remote Teams • Futurespectives Book with Agile Retrospective Exercises
  21. 21. 21 Ben Linders Consulting Designing your Retrospective
  22. 22. 22 Ben Linders Consulting Examples The Sprint that failed • Trust and Empowerment • Deal with Feelings The team that wasn’t a team yet • Getting to know each other • Skills & Open Culture
  23. 23. 23 Ben Linders Consulting Translations ….. • Volunteering professionals • Self-organized Agile team • Distributed – Remote working Learn retrospective exercises Work in distributed agile team Recognition Translations of Getting Value out of Agile Retrospective
  24. 24. 24 Ben Linders Consulting Russian Edition
  25. 25. 25 Ben Linders Consulting Sustainable Improvement Main learnings: Valuable Agile Retrospectives have to be well facilitated. Use a variety of exercises to design an effective retrospective. Decide to only do the viable few actions to improve continuously. Tweet size: • Improve continuously with well facilitated retrospectives using a variety of exercises • Valuable Agile Retrospectives: improve continuously!
  26. 26. 26 Ben Linders Consulting Questions?Questions? Ben Linders Independent Consultant Agile, Lean, Quality & Continuous Improvement @BenLinders
  27. 27. 27 Ben Linders Consulting Background Information
  28. 28. 28 Ben Linders Consulting Retrospective Benefits • Actions done by the Team • Power to the Team • Changes that Stick
  29. 29. 29 Ben Linders Consulting Assessing yourself • Readiness • Agile / Scrum Practices • Culture & Mindset • Agile Fluency • Roadmaps for Adoption • Maturity Agile Self-Assessment
  30. 30. 30 Ben Linders Consulting Book Facts Agile Retrospectives Leanpub subscribers: 500 in 3 months, 1000 in 5 months, now 2139 InfoQ downloads: > 6500++ Reviews: Goodreads 4,02 Amazon 4.6 Bestseller: #7 on Agile #2 on Business & Economics Languages: English Nederlands  Español  Francais Japanese  Italiano  Chinese Russian Interviews: SPaMCAST Collaboration Superpowers
  31. 31. 31 Ben Linders Consulting Articles on Effective Agile • Self-assessing how Agile you are • Sustainable Improvement through Agile Retrospectives • Working in a Sustainable Pace • Becoming Agile and Lean • Succes Factors for Using Scrum and Getting Benefits • Process Improvement: The Agile Way • Golden Rules for Agile Process Improvement • How to deal with Resistance when Implementing Agile • Managing Projects with Agile Teams • Agile Project Management • Establishing and Maintaining Stable Teams • Getting Business Value out of Agile Retrospectives • Sharing Knowledge is Power • Are your Professionals Empowered?