Good morning everyone. Glad to see so many people interested in the distributed retrospectives! Welcome.
My name is Dana Pylayeva. I am a Scrum Master and Agile Coach in Rakuten Marketing. I’ve spent last 11 years of my career working primarily with distributed teams. In different roles and different organizations I came to count on and appreciate the diverse skill set and personalities of my distributed team members.
Just to get a sense about your background: Who works primarily in a distributed environment? Who has worked in at least one distributed team in the past? Who has been lucky to work only in co-located teams? All right, looks like just the perfect audience for this workshop!
In a typical distributed retrospective a lot of emphasis is on “simulating in room experience“ Given that today we are all co-located, this workshop will be a reverse simulation. We will take a quick look at a few retrospective frameworks , play a simulation game and try a few game-like retrospective activities Sounds good? Then let’s get started
http://groupzap.com/b/5wvg7krkmmyj/erijz/ All of you are now part of global organization with offices in different cities around the world. On your tables you will find the handout. We will work on the first page. Tear-out the last page and write a name of the city that your office is in. Select the VP of Technology. He needs to perform the first 3 steps. Take 3 min.
As many of you already know, life in a distributed team is not perfect For a lot of distributed teams the physical distance, time zones and the cultural differences obscure team’s vision and ability to collaborate. Esther Derby said yesterday in her keynote “Lot’s of conflicts on the teams are due to a lack of clarity, not due to the personality.”
And so the team ends up looking like this: Take five dysfunctions of a team, add lack of face to face communication, time zones and cultural differences and you get the idea! o how can we help these individuals to become a real high performing team? What tool can we use to help them improve?
The answer seem to be pretty obvious– it is right there in the 12th Agile principle Retrospective is that magic tool that helps the team to improve. In my opinion, Retrospective is the most valuable activity for the team.
However there are quite a few teams that don’t share this view. What about your team? How many of you use retrospectives consistently? Occasionally? Never? Have you been in a situation where your team didn’t see any value in retrospective or was convinced that a retrospective is a waste of time?
Why do people skip retrospectives? Three commonly names reasons: it’s boring, ineffective, and can be perceived as timewaster. However, these are just symptoms . Symptoms of a team in a retrospective anti-pattern: going through the motions, using same routine over and over Not closing a retrospective with a specific action. Not following through during the next iteration. The last one can happen for various reasons: No one took ownership. Or there were simply too many actions identified. If you find yourself in this situation, time to go back to basics!
These two books will lay the foundation for you. You will discover the true meaning of a retrospective, find a great collection of exercise to try with your team and learn about a powerful framework for running effective retrospective.
Here is an interesting quote: If retrospective is about learning, then facilitating effective retrospective is all about creating a safe environment that amplifies learning Supporting the team in the discovery Helping them narrow the choices down to the next experiment that they can execute on in order to improve. In all these steps you can very effectively use Agile games and the game-like activities.
Speaking of establishing a safe environment…
Who do you think need to be in the retrospective. OK we can eliminate the face painting artist. What about the rest? Any guesses?
One of the recommendations from SGBER Open Space attendees was “Keep the Managers Out” Retrospective is meant for the team members and inviting a manager can break the psychological safety. When the brain is activated by fear, it has less neural processing power for learning and exploration.
One of the most commonly applied frameworks today is the one described by Ester Derby and Diana Larsen. How many of you are familiar with this framework? Ok, then for you it will be a quick refresher.
5 distinct phased that prepare the team for effective brainstorming and solutioning and allow them to converge on the realistic actions to execute during the next iteration.
Step one: setting the stage – many activities to help a team open up and follow on last retrospective.
Setting the stage is also a good time to bring up the Prime Directive and remind the teams
As the teams
Retrospective with a distributed team is different from a co-located one because it has an added need of simulating “same room experience”. It can be as sophisticated as specially equipped TelePresence room and as low-key as setting up a second monitor in the team room. Good new is that most of the retrospective formats and activities can be adjusted for distributed teams as well. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
A co-located team would start using lots of post-its at this time. For distributed teams we need to bring digital collaboration tools. GoogleDoc, GroupZap, LinoIt, Padlet, just to name a few.
Here is how a timeline looks in GroupZap.
My new favorite tool is the Rory’s Story Cubes. It is perfect for the teams with shy team members. Distributed teams can benefit from it to – either by sharing pictures of the story they built with other locations or by using an app for simulating the dice rolling expereince
Using a metaphor to discuss the events from the last sprint bring together the team members with different cultural background
And when we don’t have much time, we use what we call NY minute retrospective: Modified happiness histogram, where everyone writes just one post-it to summarize their expereince and put the note at the appropriate point on the 1 – 5 scale.
In your handouts, you will see 3 different activities for Gather Data Stage. Pick one of them and gather data about our fist day a the conference.
We started with setting the stage separately in each team. Now the teams will gather data using one of the three frameworks from the handouts In the meantime, VPs of technology will have to follow me on Twitter and install LinoIt app on their devices. I will create a public canvas in LinoIt and tweet a link. VPs will take a photo of the output generated by each team and add it to our shared canvas on their devices. We will then collectively review the data from each team, generate insights, actions and close the retrospective.
Welcome To Your New Distributed
Distributed Team Challenges
Fear of Conflict
Absence of Trust
Lack of Commitment
“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team ” Patrick Lencioni
face to face
Retrospective Quiz. Who Is Invited?
Face Painting Artist
All of the above
None of the above
Keep the Managers Out!
Framework for effective
What To Do Close
Based on “Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams
Great” Esther Derby, Diana Larsen
Establish a safe container,
ensure participation, get
everyone’s voice heard in
the first 5 min.
1. Check in: your feelings
in 1 word.
2. ESVP check in
3. Review working
My First Day at
Agile and Beyond
Goal: Build a shared context.
Without it people are
working from a narrow
set of data – their own.
1. Build a timeline with data
2. Feelings (Emotion
seismograph or labels with
the Last Spring
Simulating Distributed Environment
Goal: Figure out
what all this information
1. Many options:
- Learning Matrix
- 4L, 3H..
- Actions Centered
2. Route Cause Analysis
- Fishbone diagram
- 5 Whys
• GoogleDoc (check out a template by Ilio Krumins-Beens & Terrence McGovern
Tools for Distributed Retrospectives:
Rory’s Story Cubes:
Thank You For Playing Along!
Join me, NYC Scrum User Group
and our awesome speakers
June 1, 2015 at
Special discount to all
Agile and Beyond attendees:
15% off with AAB15 discount code