Perspective of Retrospective

Scrum received some criticism today in Computer Sweden. The article featured an interview of Ken Schwaber and our guy Henrik Kniberg. Tobias Fors from Citerus was giving the comment that Scrum lacked support for retrospective. I am not sure if he was quoted correctly.

I am in the belief that Scrum has three roles, three artefacts and three meetings. Of the latter, there is one you should never skip.

The thing is, if you wish to get any better, you need to start thinking about what you do. If you do not do that, you will just muddle on like before. You probably reflect on your own ways, once in a while, as an individual, but you also need to do that as a group.

The only meeting you should never skip is the retrospective. Yet that is what seems to be happening very often, from what I hear and from the feature I mentioned.

As long as you do retrospective meetings, you can improve. You probably find that planning is also a good thing to do. But if you skipped retrospective and did planning only, you would not have a time to discuss how planning could improve. Except during your coffee break when everyone lets out their frustration anyway.

So how do you do a good retrospective meeting? There are many ways to go about, I’m sure, but let me give you a simple one that I even tried at home on a Sunday.

Divide a board in “good”and “not so good”. Hand out post-it notices and pens to everyone. Let everyone write down anything that springs to their minds when thinking about the last sprint (or last month, if you’re not iterative yet).

As they write down their thoughts, for each note, they place them on the board and states shortly what it is about. Try to refrain from discussion, is there any disagreement, just note that fact.

After a ten minutes, or when all are content, look through the notes and see if they some should be considered duplicates. If so, put them next to each other.

Now each participant is given 3 votes to put on the notes they feel is most important. All votes may be spent on one note or spread on more.

Count the votes and focus a discussion on the top five notes. Make a list of improvements from that and put on the wall visible to all.

2 responses on “Perspective of Retrospective

  1. Hi Per! You’re quite correct – retrospectives are one thing you don’t want to skip if you want to suceed with Scrum. What I told the reporter while being interviewed for this article was basically the same thing you write here: that many teams, unfortunately, choose to not do retrospectives. The opinion that “scrum lacks support for retrospectives” is something that the reporter came up with on his own.

    Keep up the good work on spreading the use of retrospectives!

    Svenska läsare hittar lite mer om mina tankar om retrospektiv på min scrumtipsblogg:återblicken

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