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Re: Retrospective instructions?

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  • James S. Fosdick, PMP, CSP
    Remember the prime directive : Do the simplest thing that can possibly work. ;) That being said, whereas the Sprint Review is a feedback mechanism to inspect
    Message 1 of 34 , Sep 2, 2008
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      Remember the "prime directive": Do the simplest thing that can
      possibly work. ;)

      That being said, whereas the Sprint Review is a feedback mechanism to
      inspect and adapt the product, the Sprint Retrospective is, primarily
      anyway, a feedback mechanism to inspect and adapt the process. There
      are a whole host of possible ways to do that, but generally they come
      down to these few points:

      * Make sure everyone (on the team) has a voice
      * Make sure proper credit is given for things that went well to foster
      continuation of those things and build momentum/team morale (and
      perhaps find additional improvements)
      * Document things that need to be/could be improved

      My favorite technique combines "silent writing" with group discussion.
      I give every team member a big green post-it and a big yellow post-it
      and ask each one to right down at least one "This went well" on the
      green sticky and one "We need this to change" on the yellow sticky.
      Then I put them all up on the wall. I read off the "pluses" and
      emphasize those that a plurality of team members mentioned. I then
      generally facilitate some discussion of the top 2 or 3 most mentioned
      things to see if they can be made even better (continuous improvement
      also means improving on what's working if possible).

      Then I start working through the "deltas" (i.e. "things we should
      change) to look for common themes. Often I'll identify the top 3-5
      things (if there are that many) as potential items for a "process
      improvement" backlog and have the team prioritize them and estimate
      the effort associated with implementing them. This is a great way to
      develop a list of high value action items analogous to building value
      with the product backlog. These can even turn into stories if they are
      valuable enough and the PO agrees. It's also consciousness raising if
      there are organizational impediments because they will tend to come up
      again and again in the retrospective. If you keep an "improvement
      backlog" posted visibly it raises conscious in the organization on the
      trouble spots.

      Of course this is only one way to do it which may or may not be
      effective for your team. I'm sure others here will have other suggestions.
    • James S. Fosdick, PMP, CSP
      ... It seems to me this has less to do with clever mnemonics or retrospective techniques (which are certainly useful tools) and more to do with the fact that
      Message 34 of 34 , Sep 4, 2008
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        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries
        <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

        > Yes. I have some dear friends who used SAMOLO and loved it. I was
        > not as impressed as they were. For reasons such as you're referring
        > to, and others, it seemed to me that important things just couldn't
        > be brought up.

        It seems to me this has less to do with clever mnemonics or
        retrospective techniques (which are certainly useful tools) and more
        to do with the fact that retrospection is not equivalent to
        introspection either individually or collectively. A tendency towards
        superficial examination of past history without a requisite amount of
        serious introspection cannot have a significant impact on future
        development. As with all things Scrum related, teams will get out of a
        retrospective whatever they put in. The trick for the ScrumMaster or
        coach is to inspire them to be more introspective individually and as
        a group. I don't think there is a mnemonic or prescriptive technique
        that provides that.
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