After each release/iteration, the Scrum Master/Team Leader should hold a retrospective which can also be called an intraspective. The aim of the retrospective is to improve methods and teamwork by reviewing the past iteration/release. There are 3 core questions that should be answered in every retrospective:
Generally, a retrospective is time-boxed to 2 hours and is based on brainstorming solutions and commit to a solution and discuss again, if success adds to the process. Retrospectives can be highly effective as they happen during development process providing immediate feedback on how the process is performing. If used correctly retrospectives can result in:
Esther Derby and Diana Larsen defined a 5 step process for holding retrospectives.
Setting the stage is all about setting the tone of the meeting and getting the team on board. Retrospectives work best when there is a lot of engagement and genuine feedback from the team. It is recommended to get people talking early by introducing themselves and their role but if the team members don’t change very often this might be seen as overkill. Next, the Scrum Master/Team Leader sets an agenda and rules for the meeting. To increase comfort level of team members to participate in the meeting the team can play the following games
Check In: Round robin where people give 2 sentences on what they want to get out of retro
Focus On/Off: Get people give their opinion on each pair of words ie. Conversation vs Argument, Understanding vs Defending
ESVP: The team anonymously identify their attitude towards retrospectives as one of the following:
The total scores are kept and the individual votes disposed of. Then the team is asked how they feel about the results.
Working Agreements: small groups and create agreements, create master list
Next step is gathering feedback from team members on what happened during iteration. The goal is to determine a common vision of the iteration. The team leader can use the following team based facilitation techniques to get more interaction between team members:
Once the data on the iteration has been gathered it needs to be evaluated. The data can be evaluated using the following brainstorming techniques:
After the data has been evaluated and the team have the insights into the issues they must decide how to rectify them. The technique called “circle of questions” can be used to give individuals opportunities to provide solutions where a person picks an issue and the next person proposes a solution. It is very important that any goals created to rectify an issue are SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Timely). This will help ensure the goals are achievable within the next iteration and can be reviewed after. To sort the issues the team can use an action wheel where each item is categorised simply by choosing Keep/Drop/Add or Start/More/Less.
The final stage of the retrospective is formally closing it. There 4 tasks identified to close the retrospective is:
Esther Derby & Diana Larsen Going Through 5 Stages
The premortem is a facilitated team exercise that aims to identify the possible failures on a project before they happen. This helps the team to think long-term and visualise future change’s they might experience. The Product Owner needs to approve any mitigation or avoidance actions before they can be added to the backlog. The steps to conducting a post-mortem meeting are below.
Imagine the Failure
Generate Reasons for the Failure
Consolidate the list
Revisit the plan
This article is part of the our 100 Agile Tools & Techniques epic article based off the PMI list of recommended techniques and tools in their PMI-ACP certification syllabus.
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