Retrospective hints

March 22 2009

i was thiking of posting some thoughts about last retrospective my team just had. funny enough, today i opened my feed reader and found this post by Jay Field on exactly the same topic: let the retrospective be driven by an external facilitator, and do a safety check before starting.

last friday we had a team retrospective. doing project ones would now be impossible, while we’re working on 3/4 projects and rotating pairs each day (more on this later). moreover, this time frame (last few weeks) has been very hard for us all; you know, the “rise and fall”: hard-to-folllow customers, projects coming and leaving, zero-velocity iterations, a few bugs.

yeah, but we also had a great surprise: we now have a new UK managing director! having Marco in Milan last week, we proposed him to drive our retrospective.

he chose to start the meeting with a “ballot”: write down on a note how likely you are talking to others, on a scale from 5 to 1. i never tried this strategy, even if Piero and me talked about during our session at Italian Agile Day. it was really interesting, numbers weren’t fully as expected. good: feedback gathered.

we used the starfish form, also known as “start-doing, stop-doing, keep-doing, more-of, less-of”. this time, after a rough clustering, we focused on “good and bad” for each cluster, and then proposed actions to support the good or to avoid the bad. then, we performed a quick vote and chose rule champions. (i’m the champion for “shared pomodoro”… let’s see…)

to recap, what went well:

  • we asked an external person to drive our retrospective; of course, he knew what a retrospective is and how to drive it. but he really didn’t know what our issues were. nevertheless, he was able to understand when a bit more discussion was good and when to stop it
  • everyboby knew what the feeling and trust were; so, core issues have been addressed, being both important to everyone and source of frustation for a few

now the hard part: on monday we’ll start adopting some very strict rule, everyone voted! as usual, we’ll try for one week at least, then we’ll reflect on data and feelings. let’s adapt!


One Response to “Retrospective hints”

  1. Luca Minudel Says:

    thank you for sharing these thought and links, I’ve found them interesting and useful

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