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The Power Of Retrospectives
Rakesh Mehta
Delivery Manager,
Sigma Infosolutions Ltd
Agenda
• Retrospectives
• Common Misconceptions
• Retrospective Framework / Structure
– Set the Stage
– Gather the Data
– Generate Insights
– Decide What To Do
– Close Retrospective
• Release and Project Retrospectives
• Examples
– How to set Goal & Shaping the Goal
– Violating working agreements and blaming
– Managing You
– Guideline for Action Plans
• Book Recommendation
• Conclusion
Retrospectives
• A workshop in which participants explore their work and results in order to improve the both
the process and product.
• It provide opportunities to inspect and adapt the process, development approach, delivery
frequency as necessary.
• The Retrospective is all about looking for at a qualitative (people’s feeling) and quantitative
(measurements) of data, then using that data to find root causes, designing
countermeasures, and developing action plans.
• Examples
– Improved Capability, Productivity, Quality and Capacity
– Celebrate Team Success
Reference - PMBOK 7th edition, Agile Practice Guide
Agile Manifesto Principles
At regular intervals, the team
reflects on how to become more
effective, then tunes and adjusts its
behavior accordingly.
Common Misconceptions
• Misconceptions - Sprint Retrospective is a blame game
• Reality - The Retrospective is a time for the team to learn from previous work
and small improvements.
• Misconceptions - Sprint Retrospective is only for discussing what went wrong.
• Reality -While it's important to address issues and challenges, Sprint
Retrospective also provides an opportunity to celebrate successes and identify
what went well.
• Misconceptions - Sprint Retrospective is only for the development team.
• Sprint Retrospective involves the entire Scrum team, including the Product
Owner and Scrum Master, to foster collaboration and shared accountability for
improvement.
Retrospective Framework - Set the Stage
• Introduction
• Goal
• Agenda
Welcome
• Quality
• Simplicity
• Teamwork
• Courage
Review Team
Values • Respect
• Open
Communication
Review Team
Agreements
Retrospective Framework- Gather the Data
Picture
Shared a picture of what
happened
Data
Metrics
Milestones
Celebrations
Adapting New Techniques
Metrics
Burn up / down Charts
Defect Counts
Number of user stories completed
Planned versus actual story points
Team velocity trends over a three-
or-more sprint timeframe
Retrospective Framework - Generate Insights
Data
• Look for risks
• Unexpected events
• Outcomes
• Investigate Breakdowns
• Look at cause and
effects
Generating
Insights
• It allows the team
to step back, set
the big picture, and
delve into root
causes
Activities
• FishBone
• Patterns and Shifts
Retrospective Framework - Decide What To Do
• Start – Stop – Continue.
• Pick the top three potential experiments and improvements
from the list.
• Activities - Voting
• Ensure the selected items are feasible and impactful.
• Commit to implementing one or two experiments for the
next iteration.
Retrospective Framework - Close Retrospective
• Decide on a method to document the retrospective experience for future
reference.
• Plan for follow-up actions based on the insights gathered during the
retrospective.
• Conclude the retrospective with gratitude for the team's efforts during the
iteration and the retrospective itself.
• Perform a brief retrospective on the retrospective to identify what went well
and areas for improvement.
• Apply the principle of "inspect and adapt" to enhance future retrospectives.
Structuring a Retrospective
Framework Weightage Minutes to Spent
Set the Stage 5% 5 Minutes
Gather Data 35% 20 Minutes
Generate insights 30% 15 Minutes
Decide What To Do 15% 10 Minutes
Close The Retrospective 10% 5 Minutes
TOTAL 100% 60 Minutes
Shuffle Time 15% 10 Minutes
Using this Structure - Benefits / Challenges
• Benefits
– Improved Collaboration
– Data-Driven Decisions
– Accountability
– Continues Improvement
• Challenges
– Time Constraints
– Data Overwhelming
– Facilitator Issues
– Follow- through
Project Example Contd.
• Customer Details
• Location: Middle East
• Engagement Type: Time and Material (T&M)
• Team Size: 10 (includes both internal and external members)
• Challenges
• Delivery issues
• Quality concerns
• Communication gaps
• Customer Background
• Referred from premium account
• Accounts for 60% of company revenue
Project Example Contd.
● Escalation and Threat:
○ Customer has escalated issues
○ Threatened to terminate contract if it is not resolved
● Current Situation
○ Delivery Head has Resigned.
● Action Needed
○ Address customer concerns promptly
○ Ensure smooth transition with new delivery manager
○ Improve delivery, quality, and communication processes
Project Example Contd.
● Risks
○ Potential loss of major revenue source.
○ Damage to company reputation
● Mitigation
○ Conduct thorough analysis of issues and implement corrective measures
● Next Steps
○ Hold urgent meeting with customer to address concerns
○ Develop action plan to improve delivery and quality
○ Enhance communication channels with customer to prevent further
escalations
Project Example Contd.
• Introduction to New Delivery Manager
• 1 Months time
• Understanding patterns and gaps, especially through side conversations.
• Multiple drivers of the account.
• No Clarification roles and expectations.
• No Communication workflow.
• Issue with User stories.
• PM Roles become Project coordinator / backside.
• Requirement Finalization is Missing - Product Owner
• No Scrum Master to guide team
• Issue with Spill over - unfinished work that carry over next sprint.
• Balancing planned vs. actual story points due to ad hoc tasks.
Project Example Contd.
Structure Description
Set the Stage Goal: To resolve the current escalation and strengthen client satisfaction.
Agenda:
Identifying Patterns and Gaps in Current Processes.
Gathering Data and Understanding Detailed Insights.
Reviewing Data
Create top 3 Action Items
Gather Data Dive deep into current processes to understand patterns and gaps.
Collect detailed insights from team members regarding challenges.
Generate Insights: Extract key insights to inform decision-making.
Decide What To Do: Establish a stakeholder register to highlight team roles and responsibilities.
Incorporate ad hoc task allocation during sprint planning (e.g., 30% of capacity).
Communication - Roles clarity communication workflow
Quality –Focus on Unit testing and Increase QA allocation
Delivery - Added Ad hoc allocation in Sprint planning
Close Retrospectives Express appreciation to team members for their contributions.
Consider sending appreciation notes to individuals for their efforts.
Project Example Final Notes
• Schedule call with Customer
• What works well
• Fresh Perspective
• Scrum team was collaborating
• Timely Corrective Action
• Resolved their Top Concerns
• Delivery
• Quality
• Communication
Releases and Project Retrospectives
• While iteration retrospectives focus on your team and their issues, release and
project retrospectives bring a wider perspective.
• Include People from across the organization
• Bring together people who must coordinate their work to achieve a goal—
deploying software—but may have very different points of view, different
missions, and different measures. When groups that cross organizational
boundaries come together in a retrospective, there’s a chance for organizational
learning.
How to Set Goal
• Study context, scan work, and review other artifacts to understand the team's
situation.
• Work with the team to set broader goals based on observed challenges and
needs.
• Shape the goal by choosing a broader objective that addresses underlying issues.
• Examples of useful goals include improving practices, understanding reasons for
missed targets, enhancing responsiveness with customers, and rebuilding
damaged relationships.
Personal Retrospective Birthday Day
Retrospectives
• I look back and assess
• I consider
• I taking everything into account
• I try to set a better course for
upcoming year
What is Missing?
• No Clear goals
• Nobody is keeping score
• I don’t know how I am doing well
Personal Health Retrospective
Plan
• Goals: 10k steps daily, Walk 1.3 hours / day.
• Action Plan: Morning walk, Walk during calls, Short Evening Walk.
• Measurement: Daily step out, Duration of walks.
• Review: Action Items and Weekly Reports
Personal Health Retrospective Contd.
Weekly Report Summary Report
Personal Health Retrospective Outcome Contd.
Guideline for Action Plans
• Use verbs in action steps to indicate tasks.
 Enhance Customer Satisfaction. You can say - Survey customers to gather feedback on their
experiences.
• Assign ownership to one person for each action.
• Break tasks into small, achievable steps that can be completed in a week or less.
• Set due dates to drive completion.
• Define clear criteria for what constitutes "done" and how it will be
communicated.
• Ensure the action plan meets all these criteria.
• Review side conversations to ensure alignment with action plan.
Violating working agreements and blaming
• Listen for language and labeling statements, such as "You broke the build" or "You
are immature."
• Encourage the use of "I" language to express thoughts and feelings.
• Intervene and redirect discussions away from blame or personal attacks.
• Focus on addressing the content of the issue rather than attributing blame.
• Address shouting by calmly holding the conversation, asking to speak without
shouting.
Managing You
• Own State
• Re-CENTER
Provide Support
• Acknowledge that change is difficult and requires patience.
• Show empathy towards team members' challenges and emotions.
• Demonstrate support for exploration and learning opportunities.
• Utilize big visible charts as reminders of progress and goals.
• Encourage collaboration and shared responsibility among team members.
Book Recommendation
This presentation draws references from two authoritative books to provide
Thank You
• Questions Please..
• You can reach out to me at
• Email - rakeshkumar.mehta@sigmainfo.net
• LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/rakesh-mehta-230b07a/
• Twitter (X) - https://twitter.com/faith6357

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ANIn Ahmedabad March 2024 | The Power of Retrospection by Rakesh Mehta

  • 1. The Power Of Retrospectives Rakesh Mehta Delivery Manager, Sigma Infosolutions Ltd
  • 2. Agenda • Retrospectives • Common Misconceptions • Retrospective Framework / Structure – Set the Stage – Gather the Data – Generate Insights – Decide What To Do – Close Retrospective • Release and Project Retrospectives • Examples – How to set Goal & Shaping the Goal – Violating working agreements and blaming – Managing You – Guideline for Action Plans • Book Recommendation • Conclusion
  • 3. Retrospectives • A workshop in which participants explore their work and results in order to improve the both the process and product. • It provide opportunities to inspect and adapt the process, development approach, delivery frequency as necessary. • The Retrospective is all about looking for at a qualitative (people’s feeling) and quantitative (measurements) of data, then using that data to find root causes, designing countermeasures, and developing action plans. • Examples – Improved Capability, Productivity, Quality and Capacity – Celebrate Team Success Reference - PMBOK 7th edition, Agile Practice Guide
  • 4. Agile Manifesto Principles At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
  • 5. Common Misconceptions • Misconceptions - Sprint Retrospective is a blame game • Reality - The Retrospective is a time for the team to learn from previous work and small improvements. • Misconceptions - Sprint Retrospective is only for discussing what went wrong. • Reality -While it's important to address issues and challenges, Sprint Retrospective also provides an opportunity to celebrate successes and identify what went well. • Misconceptions - Sprint Retrospective is only for the development team. • Sprint Retrospective involves the entire Scrum team, including the Product Owner and Scrum Master, to foster collaboration and shared accountability for improvement.
  • 6. Retrospective Framework - Set the Stage • Introduction • Goal • Agenda Welcome • Quality • Simplicity • Teamwork • Courage Review Team Values • Respect • Open Communication Review Team Agreements
  • 7. Retrospective Framework- Gather the Data Picture Shared a picture of what happened Data Metrics Milestones Celebrations Adapting New Techniques Metrics Burn up / down Charts Defect Counts Number of user stories completed Planned versus actual story points Team velocity trends over a three- or-more sprint timeframe
  • 8. Retrospective Framework - Generate Insights Data • Look for risks • Unexpected events • Outcomes • Investigate Breakdowns • Look at cause and effects Generating Insights • It allows the team to step back, set the big picture, and delve into root causes Activities • FishBone • Patterns and Shifts
  • 9. Retrospective Framework - Decide What To Do • Start – Stop – Continue. • Pick the top three potential experiments and improvements from the list. • Activities - Voting • Ensure the selected items are feasible and impactful. • Commit to implementing one or two experiments for the next iteration.
  • 10. Retrospective Framework - Close Retrospective • Decide on a method to document the retrospective experience for future reference. • Plan for follow-up actions based on the insights gathered during the retrospective. • Conclude the retrospective with gratitude for the team's efforts during the iteration and the retrospective itself. • Perform a brief retrospective on the retrospective to identify what went well and areas for improvement. • Apply the principle of "inspect and adapt" to enhance future retrospectives.
  • 11. Structuring a Retrospective Framework Weightage Minutes to Spent Set the Stage 5% 5 Minutes Gather Data 35% 20 Minutes Generate insights 30% 15 Minutes Decide What To Do 15% 10 Minutes Close The Retrospective 10% 5 Minutes TOTAL 100% 60 Minutes Shuffle Time 15% 10 Minutes
  • 12. Using this Structure - Benefits / Challenges • Benefits – Improved Collaboration – Data-Driven Decisions – Accountability – Continues Improvement • Challenges – Time Constraints – Data Overwhelming – Facilitator Issues – Follow- through
  • 13. Project Example Contd. • Customer Details • Location: Middle East • Engagement Type: Time and Material (T&M) • Team Size: 10 (includes both internal and external members) • Challenges • Delivery issues • Quality concerns • Communication gaps • Customer Background • Referred from premium account • Accounts for 60% of company revenue
  • 14. Project Example Contd. ● Escalation and Threat: ○ Customer has escalated issues ○ Threatened to terminate contract if it is not resolved ● Current Situation ○ Delivery Head has Resigned. ● Action Needed ○ Address customer concerns promptly ○ Ensure smooth transition with new delivery manager ○ Improve delivery, quality, and communication processes
  • 15. Project Example Contd. ● Risks ○ Potential loss of major revenue source. ○ Damage to company reputation ● Mitigation ○ Conduct thorough analysis of issues and implement corrective measures ● Next Steps ○ Hold urgent meeting with customer to address concerns ○ Develop action plan to improve delivery and quality ○ Enhance communication channels with customer to prevent further escalations
  • 16. Project Example Contd. • Introduction to New Delivery Manager • 1 Months time • Understanding patterns and gaps, especially through side conversations. • Multiple drivers of the account. • No Clarification roles and expectations. • No Communication workflow. • Issue with User stories. • PM Roles become Project coordinator / backside. • Requirement Finalization is Missing - Product Owner • No Scrum Master to guide team • Issue with Spill over - unfinished work that carry over next sprint. • Balancing planned vs. actual story points due to ad hoc tasks.
  • 17. Project Example Contd. Structure Description Set the Stage Goal: To resolve the current escalation and strengthen client satisfaction. Agenda: Identifying Patterns and Gaps in Current Processes. Gathering Data and Understanding Detailed Insights. Reviewing Data Create top 3 Action Items Gather Data Dive deep into current processes to understand patterns and gaps. Collect detailed insights from team members regarding challenges. Generate Insights: Extract key insights to inform decision-making. Decide What To Do: Establish a stakeholder register to highlight team roles and responsibilities. Incorporate ad hoc task allocation during sprint planning (e.g., 30% of capacity). Communication - Roles clarity communication workflow Quality –Focus on Unit testing and Increase QA allocation Delivery - Added Ad hoc allocation in Sprint planning Close Retrospectives Express appreciation to team members for their contributions. Consider sending appreciation notes to individuals for their efforts.
  • 18. Project Example Final Notes • Schedule call with Customer • What works well • Fresh Perspective • Scrum team was collaborating • Timely Corrective Action • Resolved their Top Concerns • Delivery • Quality • Communication
  • 19. Releases and Project Retrospectives • While iteration retrospectives focus on your team and their issues, release and project retrospectives bring a wider perspective. • Include People from across the organization • Bring together people who must coordinate their work to achieve a goal— deploying software—but may have very different points of view, different missions, and different measures. When groups that cross organizational boundaries come together in a retrospective, there’s a chance for organizational learning.
  • 20. How to Set Goal • Study context, scan work, and review other artifacts to understand the team's situation. • Work with the team to set broader goals based on observed challenges and needs. • Shape the goal by choosing a broader objective that addresses underlying issues. • Examples of useful goals include improving practices, understanding reasons for missed targets, enhancing responsiveness with customers, and rebuilding damaged relationships.
  • 21. Personal Retrospective Birthday Day Retrospectives • I look back and assess • I consider • I taking everything into account • I try to set a better course for upcoming year What is Missing? • No Clear goals • Nobody is keeping score • I don’t know how I am doing well
  • 22. Personal Health Retrospective Plan • Goals: 10k steps daily, Walk 1.3 hours / day. • Action Plan: Morning walk, Walk during calls, Short Evening Walk. • Measurement: Daily step out, Duration of walks. • Review: Action Items and Weekly Reports
  • 23. Personal Health Retrospective Contd. Weekly Report Summary Report
  • 25. Guideline for Action Plans • Use verbs in action steps to indicate tasks.  Enhance Customer Satisfaction. You can say - Survey customers to gather feedback on their experiences. • Assign ownership to one person for each action. • Break tasks into small, achievable steps that can be completed in a week or less. • Set due dates to drive completion. • Define clear criteria for what constitutes "done" and how it will be communicated. • Ensure the action plan meets all these criteria. • Review side conversations to ensure alignment with action plan.
  • 26. Violating working agreements and blaming • Listen for language and labeling statements, such as "You broke the build" or "You are immature." • Encourage the use of "I" language to express thoughts and feelings. • Intervene and redirect discussions away from blame or personal attacks. • Focus on addressing the content of the issue rather than attributing blame. • Address shouting by calmly holding the conversation, asking to speak without shouting.
  • 27. Managing You • Own State • Re-CENTER
  • 28. Provide Support • Acknowledge that change is difficult and requires patience. • Show empathy towards team members' challenges and emotions. • Demonstrate support for exploration and learning opportunities. • Utilize big visible charts as reminders of progress and goals. • Encourage collaboration and shared responsibility among team members.
  • 29. Book Recommendation This presentation draws references from two authoritative books to provide
  • 30. Thank You • Questions Please.. • You can reach out to me at • Email - rakeshkumar.mehta@sigmainfo.net • LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/rakesh-mehta-230b07a/ • Twitter (X) - https://twitter.com/faith6357