Meet your Presenter
• Co-Founder of LitheSpeed, LLC
• User experience & product
• 14 years of Agile experience
• Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt
• Lately 40% training, 20% each of
coaching, product development &
• Retrospectives at a Glance
• Retrospective Techniques
• Lean Retrospectives
• Standard Work Illustrated
• A3 Planning for Improvements
• Learn More about Retrospectives
Retrospectives are intended to facilitate
improvement, by helping teams:
• Highlight problems with current processes
• Find root causes of issues
• Suggest “countermeasures” to
• Test these new ways of working
• Adopt them if they’re better
Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Thinking
Fire fighting Hero Culture
Problem solving is a defined method
rooted in the scientific approach –
Slow evolutionary Continuous
What We do
What We Need to Do
Sprint Retrospective at a Glance
• ScrumMaster helps team
inspect & adapt for future
• Inspect people, process,
and product facets
• Identify positive and
• Refactor approach for
ScrumMaster (leader), team,
Product Owner, optional
Project or team structure revisions
Quick hit action items
Long term improvement items
Understanding of team member perspectives
A retro relies on
double loop learning
What Should Retrospectives Consider?
Standard Work &
Visual Management Systems
• Process – Assessing current practices, comparing to Standard Work, and team experimentation to
continuously improve practices, tools and processes.
• People – Role development, skill development, morale and engagement.
• Product – Product discovery, execution, value measurement and iteration.
Holistic Improvement Teams
Executive Steering Group
for Organizational Improvement
• Set broad, organizational goals
• Define measures of success
• Communicate to middle management and staff frequently
• Review progress regularly
• Address organizational barriers to adoption
Quality Circles for Team Improvement
• A cross-functional problem solving group
• SW Dev, QA, Production, BA, PMO, Resource Managers
• Anticipate, uncover, address tactical issues
• Make recommendations to executive team
A Sampling of Retrospective Variety
• Sail / Speedboat
Illustrate positive & negative
forces in nautical terms
• Comments & Actions
Stop, Start, More, Less, Appreciations
• Upside / Downside
Two teams consider the most negative
and positive aspects of a situation
• Idea / Retrospective Backlog
A list of improvement notions is gathered
and acted upon in consistent fashion.
• Fearless Journey
Use a card game to overcome
obstacles beyond the team’s direct
• Instant Micro-Commenting
Twitter-style comments on specific
Distributed Retrospective Tools
Tools like Sensei can help distributed
teams to drive and track improvement.
Experiencing a Retrospective
Break into two teams.
• List the most horrible aspects of cats, the
ones that make them The Worst Pets
• List the most wonderful aspects of cats,
the ones that make them The Best Pets
Standard Work & A3 Planning
What is “Lean?”
• Just-in-Time – Supply what is
needed, when needed, in the
• Jidoka – Halt production and
address quality issues as
• Heijunka – Respond smoothly and
efficiently to varying demand.
• Standardized Work – Organize a
job or task in an efficient activity
sequence while minimizing waste.
• Kaizen – “Change for the better.” A
philosophy of continuous
16Image Source: http://www.mtu.edu/improvement/continuous-improvement/lean-overview/
Standard Work Template
Simply describe how you
do a job today:
• Who needs to do what?
• What information, tools
or other inputs are needed?
• How will the work be performed?
• What are the expected outputs?
• How long should it take (if appropriate)?
* Standardized work training example from Toyota.
Thanks to http://artoflean.com/index.php/2011/01/21/standardized-work/
Standard Work in a Hospital
Images from http://leanhealthcarewest.com/Page/A3-Problem-Solving
Benefits of Standardized Work
• Holistic process improvement
Evolving standards in and across teams
• Expectation management & reliable delivery
Definition of done, working agreements, coding
• Audit & Regulatory support
Well-defined documentation standards
• Organizational learning & training
Rapid bootstrapping of new team members
Personal ownership & accountability for processes
“Without standards, there can be no Kaizen.”
– Taiichi Ohno
A Simple Standard Work Process
Drive continuous improvement by establishing
standards, then tasking teams to continuously
improve upon them and share their learnings.
• Identify baseline Agile
practices used by teams
• Capture current
practices as “Standard
Work” on wall or wiki
Adjust Standard Work
• Quality Circles
reconvene to review
results of A3
• Adopt or reject process
based on results:
adoption results in
updates to Standard
• Teams experiment with
• Teams document
• Hold Quality Circles
comprised of team
members and managers
• Review suggestions for
improvements in the
forms of A3s
• Team members iterate
on suggested A3s
• Vote on A3 suggestions
Getting “Ready” to Plan a Sprint
Definition of “Ready”
• Choose the few items that your team finds most useful in Sprint Planning.
• Confident and quick Sprint Planning and smooth Sprints that produce
polished results are your goals.
Agreement from other teams
RITE / Wizard of Oz / UX Test
Approvals (Compliance, Security,
Brand Mgmt, etc.)
When is a Story “Done?”
Definition of “Done”
• A shared definition and compact between Teams and Stakeholders
• Denotes what stories require to be accepted
• Ideally represents “potentially releasable” or even released state
Acceptance Criteria are met
Cleared by QA
Accepted by Tactical PO
Accepted by Strategic PO
Live for A/B Testing
Lightweight usability tested
Automated testing in place
User documentation created
Ops documentation created
Where Does Standard Work Live?
Standard Work is ideally used as a physical
visual management system.
• On the Wall
Team norms, daily stand-up rules
…but can also be captured digitally for
• In a Wiki
Coding standards, audit repository
Standard Work for Card Type & Core Values
You can use Standard Work to
define how your current
visual management systems
work, and to evolve them
when better ways are found.
Standard work can also be
applied to illustrate current
working agreements among
An Example: Scheduling Reviews (Standard Work)
Three teams working on a single product have stakeholders
that need to attend their respective demos.
Current State (Today’s Standard Work)
These teams have staggered their sprints so that stakeholders
can attend all demos.
The staggering has created other issues, in that integration of
the teams’ codebases is now more complex, and demos don’t
represent integrated work.
A3 Improvement Process Template
• What’s the problem?
• Who’s involved in fixing it?
• What’s the targeted goal?
• What are the root causes of the problem?
• How will we try to solve the problem?
• How will we know the problem is solved?
• What’s next?
• How will we document and share the results?
A3 for New Associate Integration Process
You can use A3s
to improve how
A3s for Storage & Estimation Process
You can use A3s to
practices or artifact
…or help a team review
practices (or current
The Personal A3 – Developing People
…or help individuals and
personal growth paths
Validation Board for Product Experimentation
…or track and visualize
and their results.
How typical Agile roles might take part in Standard Work:
• ScrumMasters & Team Leads – Own Assessment and Standard Work
practices for their teams, lead adaptation through retrospectives
• Functional Managers – Drive Standard Work improvements through
direct assistance and provision of coaching, training & tools
• Agile Working Group – Review Standard Work patterns across
departments and drive common support like training and presentations
• Agile Teams – Identify improvement areas in working agreements and
coding standards, experiment to advance standard work over time
• Product Owners – Look for ways to enhance feedback loops and
interfaces with agile teams, external stakeholders, customers and users
Process Improvement Roles & Responsibilities
An Example: Scheduling Reviews (A3)
Three teams working on a single
product have stakeholders that need
to attend their respective demos.
These teams have staggered their
sprints so that stakeholders can
attend all demos.
The staggering has created another
issue, in that integration of the
teams’ codebases is now more
complex, and demos don’t represent
Describe a new process that might
address the conflicting goals.
What: Describe the steps you would
take to implement your solution.
Who: Our Team
1. What do you think is likely to
happen once this solution has
2. How will you measure the
Tips for Effective Retrospectives
• Workers define and improve
their own day-to-day work
• Managers review and support
improvements to big-picture processes
• Make standards visible and obvious
• Incent & celebrate improvements
• Share learning across teams
• Managing to Learn – Shook
• Lean Thinking – Womack & Jones
• Understanding A3 Thinking – Sobek
• The Checklist Manifesto – Gawande
• The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership –
Liker & Convis
• Agile Retrospectives – Derby & Larsen
• Tasty Cupcakes –
Contact LitheSpeed for Further Information
How we can help:
• Training – Agile Developer,
Coaching Agile Teams, and
• Coaching – Process &
• Organizational Consulting
- Create a robust agile
delivery & support