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Learning to Become Agile, with Retrospectives


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Ben Linders explains the "what" and "why" of retrospectives and the business value and benefits that they can bring. Examples will be given of exercises that one can use to facilitate retrospectives, supported with advice for introducing and improving retrospectives. It is based on the successful book Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives which is published on InfoQ, Amazon, Leanpub. Filmed at

Ben Linders is a Independent Consultant in Agile, Lean, Quality and Continuous Improvement, based in The Netherlands. Author of Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives, Waardevolle Agile Retrospectives & What Drives Quality. As an adviser, coach and trainer he helps organizations by deploying effective software development and management practices.

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Learning to Become Agile, with Retrospectives

  1. 1. 1 Ben Linders Consulting Learning to Become Agile, with Retrospectives QCon London, March 5, 2015 Ben Linders Consulting
  2. 2. News & Community Site • 750,000 unique visitors/month • Published in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese) • Post content from our QCon conferences • News 15-20 / week • Articles 3-4 / week • Presentations (videos) 12-15 / week • Interviews 2-3 / week • Books 1 / month Watch the video with slide synchronization on! /learning-agile-retrospectives
  3. 3. Presented at QCon London Purpose of QCon - to empower software development by facilitating the spread of knowledge and innovation Strategy - practitioner-driven conference designed for YOU: influencers of change and innovation in your teams - speakers and topics driving the evolution and innovation - connecting and catalyzing the influencers and innovators Highlights - attended by more than 12,000 delegates since 2007 - held in 9 cities worldwide
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. 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 Author: What Drives Quality eBook: Download from Amazon, InfoQ or Leanpub Print: Buy on Amazon or Lulu
  6. 6. 4 Ben Linders Consulting State of Practice Doing them? Like doing them? Valuable?
  7. 7. 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 • Collaboration • Direct Improvement What is an Agile Retrospectives
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. 8 Ben Linders Consulting
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. 10 Ben Linders Consulting Purpose of Retrospectives Understand why to do retrospectives • Authority and responsibility on how to work together • Need for continuous improvement • Celebrate and reward success • Empasize “why over how” Sustainable Improvement through Agile Retrospectives
  13. 13. 11 Ben Linders Consulting Capable Retrospective Facilitators Effective and Efficient Retrospectives: • Vital few improvement actions • Keep invested time low Facilitation by capable people: • Qualify and Authorize facilitators • Train: Purpose, techniques, skills Agile Improvement • Mentoring & coaching • Share & discuss retrospective experiences
  14. 14. 12 Ben Linders Consulting Do and Evaluate Retrospectives • Prepare: Purposes and establishing capable facilitators • Start with retrospectives in your first iteration • Simple technique: asking questions or boat exercise Evaluate the Retrospective, ask: • Is this useful? • Helps to get a shared understanding how things go? • Do the actions make sense? • Does meeting as a team to reflect feel good? 
  15. 15. 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
  16. 16. 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
  17. 17. 15 Ben Linders Consulting Expectations for Retrospectives • Effective Teamwork • Better Collaboration • Development Process • Velocity / Productivity • Product Quality • Costs • Lead Time
  18. 18. 16 Ben Linders Consulting Limit the number of Actions • Small Action • Change Frequently • Focus on Value • Stop Starting, Start Stopping • Kanban Short Cycled Improvement
  19. 19. 17 Ben Linders Consulting Follow up on Actions • Make them Visible • Check status in the next Retrospective • Mentor & Coach teams on Continuous Improvement Making Quality & Process Improvement Visisble Uncovering Better Ways to do Process Improvement Golden Rules for Agile Process Improvement
  20. 20. 18 Ben Linders Consulting Retrospective Benefits • Actions done by the Team • Power to the Team • Changes that Stick
  21. 21. 19 Ben Linders Consulting Toolbox of Retrospective Exercises • Teams are different • Needs vary in time • Deliver more value for Teams You can plan a retrospective meeting, and think about the technique that you want to use, but be open to change it on the spot whenever needed. Toolbox of Retrospective Techniques
  22. 22. 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 Book with Agile Retrospective Exercises
  23. 23. 21 Ben Linders Consulting Designing your Retrospective
  24. 24. 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
  25. 25. 23 Ben Linders Consulting Take Away Retrospectives: • Frequent, Fast Feedback • Well Facilitated • Effective Exercise • Take Actions
  26. 26. 24 Ben Linders Consulting Questions?Questions? Ben Linders Independent Consultant Agile, Lean, Quality & Continuous Improvement @BenLinders
  27. 27. Watch the video with slide synchronization on! agile-retrospectives