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Keeping Retrospectives Fresh


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Keeping Retrospectives Fresh

  1. Keeping Retrospectives FreshAlida Cheung
  2. During initial adoption, teams focus on… Learning the new game rules Changing their mindset Putting something which may seem counter-intuitive into practice
  3. As teams mature…  Their challenges evolve  They go deeper  Problems can become harder to solve  Retrospective becomes mundane and its effectiveness wanes  “What didn’t go well” may only identify the symptoms but not the cause
  4. Six ways to keep retrospectives fresh Picture This Timeline The Five Hows Adding Appreciation to the Mix Fish Bowl Weather Forecast
  5. Picture This Adopted from Collaboration Explained by Jean Tabaka
  6. Picture This How it works  Divide the team into groups of 3 or 4  Give the groups 5 minutes to show how they feel about the sprint in drawing  Take note as they explain their pictures. Facilitate the discussion to dive into the root cause if necessary. Find out what particularly drove any strong positive or negative images  Put up the pictures and ask the team to sum up the results
  7. Picture This Why it works  The new format vitalizes and Hard to reach energizes the retrospective goals  It provides people another way to look at a situation and a different medium to express it  It taps into our right brain, our Short of intuitive and insightful mind that hours see things more holistically, balancing out the judgment or even prejudice  It is easy to reference in the future (e.g. Remember that cookie jar?)
  8. Picture This When to use  You feel the retrospective has gone stale  The team is stuck at the mechanics of the retrospective Many open bugs but burndown chart looks good Support cases set everyone on fire We made progress on automation 
  9. TimelineAdopted from Diana and Esther’s Excellent Retrospective Adventures at Agile 2008
  10. Timeline How it works  Draw a line that represents the sprint  Ask the team to recall what happened over the course of the sprint – events, metrics, features, stories, meetings, surprises, and decisions, etc. – and put them on the timeline  Facilitate the identification of any correlation, cause- and-effect, or pattern, etc. and the discussion
  11. Timeline Why it works  Provides a holistic picture of the sprint  Visually reliving the sprint chronologically helps the team discover cause and effect, missed opportunities, and areas of improvement When to use  The sprint is particularly difficult, hectic, chaotic, and/or stressful
  12. The Five HowsAdopted from an exercise at the UX Retreat in 2010
  13. The Five Hows How it works  Similar to “The Five Whys” by Sakichi Toyada  Pick one issue or pain point  Keep exploring on how to solve the previous answer till actionable items are reached  For example,  Q - “How can we deliver reliably?”  A - “We need to complete our tasks consistently.”  Q - “How do we complete our tasks consistently?”  A - “We need to handle distractions effectively.”  Q - “How do we hand distractions effectively?”  …
  14. The Five Hows When to use  The team wants to deep dive into and fix one pain point (likely to be recurring)
  15. Add Appreciation to the MixAdopted from Diana and Esther’s Excellent Retrospective Adventures at Agile 2008
  16. Add Appreciation to the Mix How it works  It is a variation to the traditional three-question format  Instead of three, it has four feedback categories: • Team proud of • Team sorry about • Appreciation • New Ideas
  17. Add Appreciation to the Mix Why it works  “Team proud of” and “Team sorry about” encourage reflection as a team  “Appreciation” provides team members an opportunity to show their appreciation towards each other, building a stronger team  “New idea” allows the team to decide what improvements they want to work on When to use  Any time
  18. Fish Bowl
  19. Fish Bowl Fish Bowl is a form of dialog used frequently in participatory events like Open Space and Unconference It has been used successful in retrospectives with a team of as few as seven people
  20. Fish Bowl How it works  Pick one topic  Put four to five chairs in the front of the room  People in those chairs will carry out a discussion  One chair remains empty at all time  A member of the audience can come up and occupy the empty chair and join the conversation. At that point, one person leaves the discussion to empty his/her chair  Facilitate the discussion to a conclusion as appropriate
  21. Fish Bowl When to use  Fish Bowl introduces some structure into a discussion which may otherwise be heated or emotionally charged
  22. Weather forecastAdopted from Diana and Esther’s Excellent Retrospective Adventures at Agile 2008
  23. Weather Forecast How it works  At the beginning of the retrospective, ask each team member to describe how he/she feels about the sprint in terms of the weather  Conduct the retrospective  Base on the result of the retrospective, especially in areas the team choose to work on, ask each team member to predict the weather for the next sprint
  24. Weather Forecast Why it works  Many times you will see a range of weather report or forecast, from sunny to stormy, providing powerful insight in how different members react and respond to the same reality  Offers an opportunity to further explore specific issue or topic When to use  Any time  This is not a complete retrospective by itself but can add flavor and insight to one
  25. References Tabaka, J. (2006). Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills for Software Project Leaders. Addison-Wesley Professional. Derby, E. & Larsen, D. (2006). Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Team Great. Pragmatic Bookshelf.
  26. Alida Cheung Twitter: AlidaCheung