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#SococoLife Webinar Series
Presented to you in partnership by:
Optimizing Retrospectives on
Distributed Agile Teams
Agenda
● :05 Introductions
● :25 Four Distributed Team Social Epidemics
● :15 Five Cures to Fix What Ails You
● :05 Retrospective Tactical Mini Demo
● :20 Q&A
● :05 Key Takeaways & Wrap Up
Introductions!
David Horowitz - Panelist
David is the CEO and Co-Founder of Retrium, a company dedicated to making
retrospectives easy and effective for distributed teams. David is a passionate
Agilist and a true believer in the power of retrospectives as a driver of
continuous improvement. In addition to Retrium, David has another full time
job: he is the father of two little ones!
Introductions!
AgileBill Krebs - Panelist
"AgileBill" Krebs has over 20 years of experience that includes development,
performance, as well as Agile training and coaching to over 2,000 people.
He holds the 'grand slam' of advanced Agile certifications, including SPC, CSP,
PMI-ACP, IGQI, and ICP-AC. He is continuing his education with a graduate
degree specializing in distributed teams.
Currently, Bill hosts the Distributed Agile Study Group, speaks at conferences,
teaches, and coaches Agile teams.
Introductions!
Mandy Ross - Moderator
Mandy recently moved into the role of Director of Marketing for Sococo, after
serving as Director of Program Management since 2012. Her past employers
include Handspring, Palm, Apple, Sony and Boeing.
A telecommuter since 2005, she lives for helping distributed teams establish
remote work best practices by connecting people to create thought
leadership for distributed teams.
Let’s Get Started!
Optimizing Retrospectives on Distributed
Agile Teams
An Agile retrospective is a
meeting that's held at the
end of an iteration in Agile
software development.
During the retrospective, the
team reflects on what
happened in the iteration
and identifies actions for
improvement going
forward.
What IS a retrospective?
Part 1:
Four Social Epidemics
Impacting Distributed Team
Retrospectives
Epidemic #1
Social Loafing
● It’s very easy for remote workers to
space out during group activities.
● In the virtual world there are fewer
ways to understand if meeting
attendees are actually participating.
● Retrospective effectiveness is directly
proportional to the ability/desire of
team members to involve themselves
in the process of self-examination.
Epidemic #2
Social Anxiety
● Many people are uncomfortable talking
about problems openly.
● Remote teams have fewer social cues
and less ability to read reactions, which
can create unease.
● Retrospectives rely on people feeling
safe enough to be honest about their
feelings and not being afraid to surface
issues
Epidemic #3
Regression to the Mean
● The principle under which highly
performing group members end up
matching the performance of their
less talented counterparts.
● Collective brainstorming dilutes the
thinking of the participants, and the
quality of ideas averages itself out.
● A strong breadth of ideas surfaced
during retrospectives are foundational
to continuous improvement.
Epidemic #4
Production Blocking
● Distributed teams thrive when they
can communicate as a group.
● Most media create single-threaded
conversations.
● An artificial thought funnel is created,
and good input is lost as the funnel
narrows.
● As the breadth of input diminishes, so
does the effectiveness of the
retrospective.
5 Cures for Your
Retrospective
Social Ailments
Cure #1
Focus on relationships and
interactions.
● Closeness is built by sharing about
yourself, and not just work stuff.
● Be sensitive to time zones and schedules.
● If your team is distributed, focus on being
good at being distributed: encourage
intentional “random” interactions with
others.
● Do this outside of the retrospective to build
trust and empathy you have established
with each other.
Cure #2
Have a fantastic facilitator who
knows distributed teams
● Encourages participation by creating a
safe online space to communicate and
a foundation of trust
● Empowers team by moderating the
conversation so that all perspectives
are uniquely included
● Creates a sense of value and clarity
● Understands differences in cultural
values around speaking up and
disagreement
Cure #3
Keep the playing field even.
● Extroverts more easily dominate
conversations in virtual space, and
introverts more easily exclude themselves
● Gather individual written feedback
privately
● Moderate a broader discussion to allow
the less verbal folks to get their ideas in
● Facilitation of private thinking creates
less bias
Cure #4
Agree to the Retrospective
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.
Norman L. Kerth, Elite Systems
Cure #5
The Right Tool for the Right Job
● Different teams need different tools for
their retrospectives.
● Successful Agile leaders will be on top of
the challenges the team faces, and will
always be actively looking for solutions.
● Effective tools are easy, natural and fun to
use - removes the effort required to make
oneself heard in Retrospectives..
Real Time Demo:
How We Conduct Our
Retrospectives
Be sure to watch the webinar to catch
this portion of the presentation! WATCH
Q & A
Q & A
Be sure to watch the webinar recording to catch this portion of the presentation!
WATCH
Research Citation
Why Group Brainstorming Is a Waste of Time
By Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Professor of Business Psychology at University College London, and a faculty
member at Columbia University
Harvard Business Review, March 25, 2015
https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-group-brainstorming-is-a-waste-of-time
Key takeaways
● Successful retrospectives with enthusiastic participation of the
entire team are foundational to building trust and continuously
improving your distributed Agile team.
● Keeping your distributed team socially engaged during
retrospectives is a combination of focused leadership, skilled
facilitation, and the right toolset.
● Ensuring the entire team has the same opportunities to share their
ideas and get input on them will elicit the most useful feedback.
Exclusive Webinar Offer!
Available ONLY to
attendees of this webinar:
a free, 1-hour strings-free
consultation with David on
how to optimize your
distributed team
retrospectives!
You might be interested in...
http://distributed-agile-teams.org/
A conference with a focus at the cross section of distributed teams and Agile!
NO WAY!
#SococoLife Webinar Series
Thanks for coming!

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Optimizing Retrospectives on Distributed Agile Teams

  • 1. #SococoLife Webinar Series Presented to you in partnership by: Optimizing Retrospectives on Distributed Agile Teams
  • 2. Agenda ● :05 Introductions ● :25 Four Distributed Team Social Epidemics ● :15 Five Cures to Fix What Ails You ● :05 Retrospective Tactical Mini Demo ● :20 Q&A ● :05 Key Takeaways & Wrap Up
  • 3. Introductions! David Horowitz - Panelist David is the CEO and Co-Founder of Retrium, a company dedicated to making retrospectives easy and effective for distributed teams. David is a passionate Agilist and a true believer in the power of retrospectives as a driver of continuous improvement. In addition to Retrium, David has another full time job: he is the father of two little ones!
  • 4. Introductions! AgileBill Krebs - Panelist "AgileBill" Krebs has over 20 years of experience that includes development, performance, as well as Agile training and coaching to over 2,000 people. He holds the 'grand slam' of advanced Agile certifications, including SPC, CSP, PMI-ACP, IGQI, and ICP-AC. He is continuing his education with a graduate degree specializing in distributed teams. Currently, Bill hosts the Distributed Agile Study Group, speaks at conferences, teaches, and coaches Agile teams.
  • 5. Introductions! Mandy Ross - Moderator Mandy recently moved into the role of Director of Marketing for Sococo, after serving as Director of Program Management since 2012. Her past employers include Handspring, Palm, Apple, Sony and Boeing. A telecommuter since 2005, she lives for helping distributed teams establish remote work best practices by connecting people to create thought leadership for distributed teams.
  • 6. Let’s Get Started! Optimizing Retrospectives on Distributed Agile Teams
  • 7. An Agile retrospective is a meeting that's held at the end of an iteration in Agile software development. During the retrospective, the team reflects on what happened in the iteration and identifies actions for improvement going forward. What IS a retrospective?
  • 8. Part 1: Four Social Epidemics Impacting Distributed Team Retrospectives
  • 9. Epidemic #1 Social Loafing ● It’s very easy for remote workers to space out during group activities. ● In the virtual world there are fewer ways to understand if meeting attendees are actually participating. ● Retrospective effectiveness is directly proportional to the ability/desire of team members to involve themselves in the process of self-examination.
  • 10. Epidemic #2 Social Anxiety ● Many people are uncomfortable talking about problems openly. ● Remote teams have fewer social cues and less ability to read reactions, which can create unease. ● Retrospectives rely on people feeling safe enough to be honest about their feelings and not being afraid to surface issues
  • 11. Epidemic #3 Regression to the Mean ● The principle under which highly performing group members end up matching the performance of their less talented counterparts. ● Collective brainstorming dilutes the thinking of the participants, and the quality of ideas averages itself out. ● A strong breadth of ideas surfaced during retrospectives are foundational to continuous improvement.
  • 12. Epidemic #4 Production Blocking ● Distributed teams thrive when they can communicate as a group. ● Most media create single-threaded conversations. ● An artificial thought funnel is created, and good input is lost as the funnel narrows. ● As the breadth of input diminishes, so does the effectiveness of the retrospective.
  • 13. 5 Cures for Your Retrospective Social Ailments
  • 14. Cure #1 Focus on relationships and interactions. ● Closeness is built by sharing about yourself, and not just work stuff. ● Be sensitive to time zones and schedules. ● If your team is distributed, focus on being good at being distributed: encourage intentional “random” interactions with others. ● Do this outside of the retrospective to build trust and empathy you have established with each other.
  • 15. Cure #2 Have a fantastic facilitator who knows distributed teams ● Encourages participation by creating a safe online space to communicate and a foundation of trust ● Empowers team by moderating the conversation so that all perspectives are uniquely included ● Creates a sense of value and clarity ● Understands differences in cultural values around speaking up and disagreement
  • 16. Cure #3 Keep the playing field even. ● Extroverts more easily dominate conversations in virtual space, and introverts more easily exclude themselves ● Gather individual written feedback privately ● Moderate a broader discussion to allow the less verbal folks to get their ideas in ● Facilitation of private thinking creates less bias
  • 17. Cure #4 Agree to the Retrospective 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. Norman L. Kerth, Elite Systems
  • 18. Cure #5 The Right Tool for the Right Job ● Different teams need different tools for their retrospectives. ● Successful Agile leaders will be on top of the challenges the team faces, and will always be actively looking for solutions. ● Effective tools are easy, natural and fun to use - removes the effort required to make oneself heard in Retrospectives..
  • 19. Real Time Demo: How We Conduct Our Retrospectives
  • 20. Be sure to watch the webinar to catch this portion of the presentation! WATCH
  • 21. Q & A Q & A Be sure to watch the webinar recording to catch this portion of the presentation! WATCH
  • 22. Research Citation Why Group Brainstorming Is a Waste of Time By Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic Professor of Business Psychology at University College London, and a faculty member at Columbia University Harvard Business Review, March 25, 2015 https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-group-brainstorming-is-a-waste-of-time
  • 23. Key takeaways ● Successful retrospectives with enthusiastic participation of the entire team are foundational to building trust and continuously improving your distributed Agile team. ● Keeping your distributed team socially engaged during retrospectives is a combination of focused leadership, skilled facilitation, and the right toolset. ● Ensuring the entire team has the same opportunities to share their ideas and get input on them will elicit the most useful feedback.
  • 24. Exclusive Webinar Offer! Available ONLY to attendees of this webinar: a free, 1-hour strings-free consultation with David on how to optimize your distributed team retrospectives!
  • 25. You might be interested in... http://distributed-agile-teams.org/ A conference with a focus at the cross section of distributed teams and Agile! NO WAY!