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Your Retrospective Format Doesnt Matter


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As scrum masters, agile coaches and facilitators we spend a lot of time and energy to come up with new and ever-changing retrospective formats. Our goals are noble- we want to get people engaged, build trust within the team, change the perspective, reframe the conversation, and keep everyone coming back for more. What we are really trying to achieve in varied retrospective formats isn’t more data, its better data. Learn the five types of retrospective data your team needs for targeted improvements that guarantee more than a bi-weekly "airing of grievances." We will focus on how to solicit all five types of data while gathering feedback continuously so you can maximize your retrospective conversations on improving and not remembering.

Published in: Engineering

Your Retrospective Format Doesnt Matter

  1. 1. Your Retrospective Format Doesn't Matter Colleen Johnson
  2. 2. Lean Origins WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM • Kaizen: Change for the Better, Continuous Improvement • Five Whys: Asking why 5 times to get to root cause • Toyota Kata: Four stage improvement process 1. Define of a vision or direction 2. Grasp the current condition 3. Define the next target condition 4. Move toward that target condition iteratively • Deming Cycle: Plan  Do  Check  Act • Hoshin Kanri: Alignment toward strategic goals
  3. 3. Why We Retro WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM • Inspect on current practices, process and team dynamics • Build open channels of communication and trust • Create a space to give feedback and be heard • Brainstorm solutions and improvements collaboratively • Establish ownership of process and team practices • Review regularly for continuous growth and modifications that fit the current needs of the team
  4. 4. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM What We Hope to Gain • Cadence for review • Collaboration skills • Autonomy of process • Ownership of solutions • Investment in improvement • Fitness for purpose
  5. 5. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM Five Stages of Retrospective 1. Set the stage 2. Gather data 3. Generate insights 4. Decide what to do 5. Close the retro
  6. 6. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM Typical Approach Went Well  Not So Well  Needs Improve
  7. 7. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM What We Recall • Serial position effect is the tendency to recall the first and last items in a period of time better than the in the middle • Mood congruent memory bias is the improved recall of information congruent with one's current mood • Confirmation bias is the tendency to recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses • Recency bias is the name for the heavy influence that recent experience can have on our decision making
  8. 8. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM Subjective Feedback • personal • individual • emotional • instinctive • intuitive
  9. 9. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM A Different Perspective • We don’t get a full picture • We only hear the loudest voice • We set the tone for others • We get stuck in the same conversations • We don’t see trends or patterns • We wait our turn to air our grievances
  10. 10. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM Start with Safety • Prime Directive • Safety Check • Rotate Facilitators • Create Space • Anonymous Feedback • Address Judgement
  11. 11. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM Stats and Facts • Look at team performance metrics • Note increases or decreases • Think outside your tool set • Consider team capacity • Quantify impacts of events
  12. 12. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM How We are finding a lot of low level bugs in test. • How many bugs were found in the testing phase? • Is this more or less than previous iterations? • How can we quantify its impact to the sprint?
  13. 13. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM Past Retros • Follow up on action items • Highlight items that carry over • Look back more than one retro • Evaluate trends and common patterns • Emphasize repeat issues
  14. 14. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM How Review new items to the ‘To Do’ column at stand up. • How can we reframe the action item to make it more accountable? • Who can be the owner of this action? • What other events can trigger a reminder to the team?
  15. 15. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM Observations • Ask open ended questions • Consider how you felt • Consider how others felt • What contributed to these feelings • What was going on around you
  16. 16. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM How We are over committing to our Sprints. • Did you feel good about that commitments up front? • What things did you see that made you feel this was too much work? • When did you begin to see this?
  17. 17. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM Kudos • Share appreciations inside and outside of the team • Make sure the get back to the person • Set the tone for positive feedback • Create a culture of appreciations • Make it fun and rewarding
  18. 18. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM How Learned more about back end from pairing. • Who were you pairing with? • What did they teach you? • How did it help you?
  19. 19. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM Events • What took place and when • Consider impacts of events • Leverage calendars as reminders • Look to events to trigger memories • Build a shared experience • See the whole picture
  20. 20. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM How Production outages pulled us away from stories. • When was the outage? • How long did it last? • What happened before/after? • What caused the outage?
  21. 21. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM But Formats are FUN! Stats Past Observations Kudos Events • Wishes to Actions • DAKI • Four L’s • Time line • Sailboat (or race car) • Spider chart • Four boxes • Futurespective
  22. 22. WWW.SCATTERSPOKE.COM Send me pictures of your Retros! COLLEEN@SCATTERSPOKE.COM ScatterSpoke @scatterspoke Improving the way Teams Improve.