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!

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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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