Break your group into smaller subgroups of 2-4 people. We have covered Phase 2 —Gather Data in my previous post. You identified a list of possible root cause of the problem and potential solutions. Retrospective . For example, you could setup a Team Radar to ask your team how it is doing living up to the Scrum Values from 1 to 5 (1 being “poor” and 5 being “excellent”). They immediately jump into trying to find solutions to that problem. Set up (objective & icebreaker) First things first! Many teams start their retrospective with Start Stop Continue. For instance, imagine you have a big issue and you have an action item to tackle that problem. Ok, that’s it for today. The Scrum Team inspects how the last Sprint went with regards to individuals, interactions, processes, tools, and their Definition of Done. Whether you’re new to the software development game or been a player for years, chances are you’ve participated in a sprint retrospective.If done well, these agile meetings can highlight opportunities for change, generate meaningful process improvements, and ultimately move the team in the right direction.If done poorly, a sprint retrospective can turn into a blame game or … And the crazy thing is that the number of bugs in the code has been decreasing for months!“. During Set The Stage at that retrospective, the facilitator asked the group a one word check in question: “How are you feeling right now?” Everyone went around the table round-robin style. 4. Everything from the venue, to the TRUST needed for people to freely share. I’d like everyone to stand in a circle.“‍, The group looked at each other, puzzled. Most teams naturally understand the need to Decide What To Do, even if they’ve never heard of the 5 phase approach to retrospectives. Use your imagination! Why? It’s who talks first or who is the most convincing. John made a snarky comment, “Not another game, Bob. Sprint Retrospective Ideas: Tips for an Effective Meeting One of the most straightforward ways to run a Retrospective is the The secret box can be any container into which team members just drop notes about things they would want to discuss in the retrospective. Just like with the One Word Check In, simply ask your team a question and ask them to respond in a single word or short phrase. Let’s take a look. Here is an example: Use Retrium to keep people interested regardless of location. Let’s go back to how we started: with the example team. Other Retrospective Examples. In a retrospective, a team steps back, examines the way they work, analyses and identifies ways they can improve” Esther Derby 5. If you have too many action items it is likely that the team will forget about some of them. Time boxing. You find continue reading about the last phase here: Phase 5—Close the Retrospective. It guides you through the retrospective process. And there's certainly more than one way to run a Retrospective. Collect the forms and mark the scores on the graph or ask people to do it themselves. “That sounds right. The Sprint Retrospective meeting is a place where teams navigate in their continuous improvement journey by reflecting, sensing and responding. It will also allow the conversations to go where they need to go, without going off track. Dot Voting can help. Or you might measure bad results and decide to drop that solution, because it didn’t help to fix the problem. So far, you've only voted for the issues that came up, but your team hasn't gotten to an agreement about what to do about them, and that agreement is the most valuable output for your retrospective . Until now we have covered the first 3 phases. Sign up below to be among the first to receive each chapter. If this is not clear to people, I noticed that some respond very negative to certain action items. The team continues with a series of statements until the energy leaves the room and Bob recognizes it’s time to move on. “The beach is for lazy people. One of the easiest ways to understand the power of Generating Insights is by using the 5 Whys activity. John pipes up. Have people write down whatever events occurred that were meaningful to them, or had an impact on the team. On the left hand side of the line he writes the word “Low Impact” and on the right hand side of the line he writes the word “High Impact”. Whenever you think of something, jot it down on a sticky note.“, “It’s important,” Bob continued, “to not filter anything out right now. As the team brainstorms actions, Bob draws a single horizontal line on the whiteboard. Least favorite? A retrospective is a place for everyone on the team to share. At the end of that phase we had a list of possible root causes and potential solutions for a problem. Just like last time, let’s go around the table and everyone can talk about what’s working and what’s not, and then offer some solutions.“. Number of stories completed as a percent of number of stories started, Throughput (# of work items finished per day), WIP (# of work items started but not finished). Objective Data is any information that can be measured and verified. 5. Remove the need for documentation that needed to be kept up to date. The power of retrospectives, Bob thought to himself. “The biggest problem to me is the low quality of the codebase. Joan opened her email on her laptop. How you write your Action Items makes a big difference. Decide What to Do; Close the Retrospective; In order to keep our retrospective alive, we needed to figure out a way to involve our valuable team members in Salt Lake City, UT (our HQ is in San Diego). Jeff was usually a positive person who brought energy to any situation. Review all the proposed solutions, group similar points, and create plans for actualizing the best ideas. Effective Sprint Retrospectives lead to improved development process, quality of product backlog, value delivery, team collaboration or any other area that your team members care about. It sounds like we’re ready to move on to coming up with an action we can commit to as a team,” says Bob. My bias, like many people with an engineering background, is to jump right into analyzing problems and finding solutions. Here are just some: Note that you don’t have to bring all of this data to every retrospective (though you certainly can). ), or for a Project or Release retrospective. “Time’s up!” A few people quickly finish writing down their last idea. You place the stickies with the action items at a place where the team can see them. For instance, “Implementing 2-factor authentication for the web application” is too big for an action item of a Retrospective. They find little to no value in the retrospective and will eventually stop doing them altogether. They are: Set the Stage Gather Data Generate Insights Decide What to Do Close the Retrospective Use it as an opportunity to collect feedback in an effort to improve the retrospective experience next time. It was time for the team’s retrospective. etc”). “You’ve been here the longest, and if you had only spent the time documenting the code at the beginning, the rest of the developers would have a better idea of what’s in your head!“, “Not again,” thought Erica. Something went wrong while submitting the form. Your email address will not be published. That’s when Bob draws another line onto the whiteboard, this time a vertical line half way down the middle. Once the team has agreed on the best potential solutions, narrow it down to the top two or three that you could implement in the upcoming sprint. ‍2. It’s my opinion versus yours. Another method, which proved to work very well, is to make action items visible to the team. Many teams make the mistake of ending the meeting before closing the feedback loop in this phase. The process continues for each spoke of the Development Practices Radar. Positive closure of the retrospective. Maya was the first to speak up. But if the answer is “yes,” document what The Team has authorized to be discussed outside the room. But which one of these solutions is the right one? You might ask “why” three times or eight. Closure Last but not least, the agile retrospective is completed by documenting the results and planned next steps. Why are we so slow in delivering software. What to do instead: bring this issue up while your team gathers Subjective Data, so that your teammates know its an unproven opinion at this point.‍, 3. …, Why are established companies so much slower in delivering software compared to a startup company? For example, an action that has low effort, high impact, and high energy, would be a great candidate to commit to. Who committed which bugs and who fixed them? Data that you collect for the retrospective should be for The Team only. Many of these teams call retrospectives “checklist items”. Come on up to the board and put your ideas somewhere onto this line to indicate how impactful you think your idea might be. Don’t try to improve everything at once. Step 4: Decide what to do. Make sure the team can share their insights in a safe environment. Sprint Retrospective Ideas: Tips for an Effective Meeting So, by making the action items visible to the team in different ways, you can do your best to make sure they will be worked on and completed until the end of the Sprint. Then your team will be consistent in making sure that action items are always finished. No need to be precise here (“on Day 2 what happened? Retrospectives are commonly used by agile software development teams to: Highlight opportunities for change Generate meaningful process improvements Generally time boxed to 1.5 hours for a 2 week Sprint. It encourages participationAccording to Marc Loeffler in his book Improving Agile Retrospectives, “someone who is silent at this stage is likely to remain so for the rest of the retrospective.” 😶 If you want more people to participate in the rest of the retrospective, now’s your chance! What is Sprint Retrospective: When we think of the word “retrospect,” it means to do a review of a past course of events, which is the base for a Sprint Retrospective. You may recall the 5 stages or phases of the retrospective that were proposed by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen in their excellent book, Agile Retrospectives: 1. These five stages are presented in the book Agile Retrospectives – Making Good Teams Great by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen. What does that mean? Because Agile stresses the importance of continuous improvement, having a regular Agile retrospective is one of the most important of Agile development practices. The team doesn’t agree on the issues at hand. The team can then move on to identify what actions it can take to reinforce the driving factors and to lessen the impact of the prohibiting factors. At the end of a Retrospective, everyone involved should decide on the action items that should be taken to improve future sprints. What’s the value of a retrospective? Going back to our example, if the team used the 5 Whys technique to analyze why they were not working on their Retrospective Action Items, they might have discovered that the real root cause of the issue was not that people forgot about the Action Items but that no one felt responsible for them. If the speaker hooked you in the first few minutes, were you more or less likely to listen to the remainder of his or her talk?). Everyone sat down and you could hear, see, and almost feel the groans in the room. For these people, Constellations is a fantastic exercise because it allows you to answer simple questions without speaking. The second part of your retrospective review should focus on follow-up action. Ask people to answer one of the questions, one thing they learned or a thank you to someone. Big action items contain the risk that they are not worked on or cannot be finished in the Sprint. Which activity during the retrospective was your favorite? Step 4: Decide what to do. Everyone agreed — this made a lot of sense. In this post we will take a closer look at some of the principles behind the method and why it works. That’s jumping into Solution Finding way too fast. What was the best moment during the iteration? When you’ve generated a list of potential actions, it can be difficult to know which one to work on next. Generating Insights encourages you to think deeply about issues, which helps to expand your horizons by helping you see the big picture. What should the team do? “Those two always argue. At this point in the Retrospective you don’t want to commit to work on a big action item. ‍Cindy, Joan, and Rahul aren’t paying attention. “Time’s up! Subjective Data includes personal opinions, feelings, and emotions on the team. Simply saying “I pass” can be enough to get them involved. Now, let’s go on with Phase 4 and decide what we are going to do about the problem. I thought we were done!“‍, “Almost,” Bob said. What matters is the relative sizes compared against each other (“this one is bigger than that one”), not the accuracy of any individual item. On the top of the line he writes the word “High Effort” and on the bottom he writes the word “Low Effort.”, “Now, move the sticky notes up or down to indicate how much effort they will take. * Use relative size measurements for estimation. Other Retrospective Examples. So, making clear to the team that we are working with a try-measure-learn model is a good way to make clear that this is just the first step in the hopefully right direction. Closure Last but not least, the agile retrospective is completed by documenting the results and planned next steps. This retrospective is leading nowhere good, and it only just began! It would remove the arguments. She always seemed to speak first. Now that you’ve analyzed the issue at hand, it’s (finally) time to make it actionable. Go!“, Almost immediately, John said: “The only idea with high impact and low effort is using an automated process like Prettier. Create new processes that replicate the last sprint’s wins and prevent the same problems from popping back up. To take 5 Whys to the next level, consider breaking your group into smaller subgroups of 2-4 people. Therefore it is not surprising that some people will react like “That’s not gonna help anyway! Once everyone is done brainstorming, have everyone place their sticky notes up on the board. Decide What to Do; Close the Retrospective; I use this five-step-approach as a guideline in each retrospective meeting, which I lead as a Scrum Master. You can download an extract in PDF format for free by signing up to my email list below. Or something else might be considered more important in the next Sprint planning. Do any of these address the actual issue? At the end of a Retrospective, everyone involved should decide on the action items that should be taken to improve future sprints. How To Run A Retrospective. Note : Learn more and sign up for a free 30 day trial of Geekbot to run asynchronous retrospectives, daily standups, and other remote work check-ins in Slack. Pick a topic, issue, or proposed change that you want to analyze. It’ll help me improve the retrospective experience for you.“‍, As the team started walking towards the door, Mary said, “Bob, I want to thank you. You can only imagine how the rest of the team is feeling. More sticky notes are created and before long, the timebox is up. Now it’s time to analyze the data you’ve collected to discover insights and to find root causes. I’ve since changed my outlook. This might shift their mind to a more positive attitude regarding the created action items. You believe this might be reducing down the team’s throughput. For teams that love to live in the digital world, this technique can be a fun Close The Retrospective activity. Each problem does not have just one root cause and exactly one solution. If they don’t feel comfortable answering the question, don’t make them. Ask your team to take our their laptops / iPhones / device of choice. Do not bring data that focuses on individual team members (at the detriment of others)For example, you might collect data around the introduction of bugs into the repository. Here are the two easy steps to running 5 Whys: That’s it. In contrast to Objective Data, Subjective Data is sometimes referred to as “soft data”. The secret box is something that newer teams may choose to use to ensure that items to discuss during the retrospective don’t get lost or forgotten. ‍ There are tens if not hundreds of variations on how to properly facilitate each of these five phases of the retrospective (Set The Stage, Gather Data, Generate Insights, Decide What to Do, and Close the Retrospective). Have each person put a dot, an “X”, or a sticky note in the column that best represents how they feel about it. Don’t tell the team that this is a fact! “Almost done, everyone! “Great,” says Bob. (If you don’t believe me, think about the last conference you were at. Generating Insights provides your team with the opportunity to analyze the issue and to make sure whatever you Decide To Do will have a high likelihood of success. Gather Data Iterations, while often brief, are packed with important events and interactions; Data, in such... 3. I’ve been meaning to tell everyone, but I learned a few days ago that my mom has Stage 4 Cancer. Decide What to Do; Close the Retrospective; Chapter 2: A Retrospective Custom-Fit to Your Team. You want to make action items small enough so that they don´t have an impact on the amout of planned work for the upcoming Sprint. It shouldn´t require a discussion with the team whether an action item can considered to be completed or not. Retromat provides a lot of exercises for each of those stages. If a team can run effective remote retrospectives, it will make it grow and improve its effectiveness when it comes to achieving tasks and creating value. Feel free to stop once you arrive at the root cause. This popular retrospective technique helps highlight your team’s emotions during the iteration (bringing to light Subjective Data exclusively). The Agile Retrospectives Set the Stage. The length of the meeting depends on the time scale and complexity of the iteration. What’s working in your favor? It seems there’s a lot of room for improvement in that area,” asks Bob. Make these changes highly visible to the team using visual records, lists, or charts. Meanwhile, if you have any additional remarks about action items, then please share them in the comments section below. The retrospective is considered the single most important process you can do, because it enables your team to learn, improve and adapt ¹. At the end, Bob asks each of the volunteers to calculate the average for their set of sticky notes. That’s the impact of Setting The Stage. It would be great to be on the same page about this.“, “Perfect. Jennifer argues passionately for trying out pair programming. Retrospectives are commonly used by agile software development teams to: Highlight opportunities for change Generate meaningful process improvements Like with most of the other retrospective ideas, you’ll need to group similar themes and decide which ones should be actioned on in your next sprint. Let’s replay that retrospective using the 5 phase approach we just outlined and see the difference it can make. There’s nothing like a good metaphor to host an effective retrospective and keep your team engaged, and that’s exactly what the sailboat retrospective does. Observe -> Orient -> Decide -> Act; That’s basically it. an opportunity for the Scrum Team to inspect itself and create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next Sprint.The But I’d also add it includes manual testing,” Cindy responds. Scrum values time box’s. Make sure everyone says at least one word during this phase. Within a few minutes, they’ve identified a number of possible fixes: I could go on and on. If you're a software engineer & looking for your next move, check us out. See you around, HabbediEhre! Running the Retro as a Gif exercise is more than just fun. “With this new information, is everyone okay focusing only on Shared Coding Standards for the rest of the retrospective? Here’s an example. Ok, so you’ve Set The Stage to get everyone “checked in” and you’ve Gathered Data to build a shared understanding of the facts. It also gives you a sense of how the team is feeling after the retrospective is over. Planning and prioritizing is done in Sprint Planning, but not in the Retrospective meeting. This means that even if it is completed it will not have a big impact. You can do this verbally or have everyone write down their response on a sticky note and hand them to you as they leave. You make the action item “visible” in their mind by pointing it out during the Standup. A retrospective is an opportunity to learn and improve. Decide what to do - Make sure the team decides together what is important and what is the most important thing for them to do. Cindy took out her phone. They are: Set the Stage Gather Data Generate Insights Decide What to Do Close the Retrospective Summarize the results of the retrospective and get feedback to improve the retrospective next time. Learn About the Sprint Retrospective Event. ‍While John and Maya argue about why the codebase lacks quality, Erica silently doesn’t even agree with the premise. 5 means we’re doing as well as could be expected.“, Everyone thinks for a moment, then writes down their responses. By that, they mean that in order to increase trust and create a sense of psychological safety, the team should feel comfortable knowing that nothing that is discussed in the retro leaves the room.‍, But sometimes things the team learned in the retrospective should be shared outside the team. Set up a whiteboard in which the x-axis represents time. If your team is sure that they want to work on that with high priority, then the action item might be “Create a user story for 2-factor authentication and put it on top of the backlog”. Generate Insights. It is time set aside – outside of day-to-day routine – to reflect on past events and behaviors. Instead, what matters is overall trends (“towards the beginning of the sprint, this happened. I just deployed a fine tool called fraankly. They break down retrospectives into 5 stages: Set the Stage: an ice breaker activity helps teammates focus and get mentally ready for the retrospective. She had been on the team the longest and knew the code inside and out. Decide what to do; Close the retrospective. “First, start thinking about what forces are helping you maintain good quality Shared Coding Standards. Organize a lean coffee to collect data during the retrospective. Close your retrospective by asking participants: think about this year for a bit, and decide 3 personal actions for next year (what should … Depends maybe on the topics you want to discuss. 5 Whys is a facilitation technique that helps you discover the root causes of an issue. Do not share data outside The Team without permissionData can easily be abused and misused. What are some activities you can use to Gather Data? Many teams have a retrospective ground rule: What Happens in the Retro Stays in the Retro. I’ll set a 5 minute timer. It’s all about Thor.”, There was a brief pause before Maya says, “Can I make a statement?“. He moves all the chairs and tables to the side to create an open space. They do them because “Scrum said to”. In the middle of the sprint, this happened. This tells you exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it. Ok, so at the end of this phase we have created a few, small, actionable items to improve our process. Now, if you’re like me, you might doubt the value of this exercise. If you recall, Bob (the Scrum Master) started the retro by going round robin and asking everyone what should be improved. Thus, retrospectives are an effective way to do the short cycled improvement. By having two questions you give people the opportunity to choose, but you could also decide to just have one question of course. It gives everyone a chance to context switchRetrospectives require an entirely different mindset from the day-to-day grind of working on a product or project. For those teams, it can be useful to start each retrospective with a review of the team’s Action Items from the previous retrospective. A retrospective is an opportunity to learn and improve. To fix these issues, the team should have followed the five phased approach to effective agile retrospectives. I will give you four reasons. How can it pick between the options?‍, That’s where hypotheses and experiments come in. etc”). “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” One option is to use the SMART template. Most people move far away from him. We’ll use this to collect some subjective data about what the team thinks we’re doing well and not doing well. “I want these retrospectives to work for you. Tell everyone to go find a gif that best represents the retrospective. Make clear to the team that Scrum is an empirical approach—you are working with a try-measure-learn loop. In this activity, your team will be building out a timeline of all the events that occurred during the iteration. For example, you might say: “Star Wars is better than Star Trek” or “Android is better than iOS” Not only will statements like these be fun and engaging, you might learn a thing or two about your teammates!‍. There is one more important thing, which you should keep in mind when creating your action items: Make clear to the team that you are dealing with complex problems here. Create five columns on a poster board: Action Item, More Of, Less Of, Keep Doing, and Stop Doing. Decide What to Do; Close the Retrospective; In order to keep our retrospective alive, we needed to figure out a way to involve our valuable team members in Salt Lake City, UT (our HQ is in San Diego). The goal of this phase is to create action items to improve in the next iterations. It was unlike him. Timebox the brainstorming to 5 minutes. The important thing is to make sure there is a shared understanding of what occurred. These teams fail to come up with concrete actions and therefore find that retrospectives rarely (if ever) become agents of change. Whatever actions are agreed upon in the retrospective are followed in the next iteration. As you learned in Chapter 1, the purpose of the retrospective is to enable Actionable Team Learning. In its simplest form you answer 3 questions: Finally, let’s vote on the issues you think are strongest in each column. This stage can be the most challenging one. I bet you can think of a time when data was tracked without a clear purpose (“that’s just how we’ve done it in the past”). When actions are presented as hypotheses, teams are less inclined to resist trying new things out (even if they don’t agree it’s the optimal experiment to run).‍, Here’s a template from Luís Gonçalves that you can use to write your Action Items as hypotheses:‍. Whatever actions are agreed upon in the retrospective are followed in the next iteration. One person on that team was named Jeff (not his real name). Therefore, it's now time to throw your retrospective word document template away and break free from the barriers of boring retrospective analysis strategies. Using 5 Whys, we have connected the dots between The Baltimore Orioles missing the playoffs and the need for the team to hire a strength and conditioning coach. My ideal vacation is in the mountains,” says Mike. What if the team needs help on a particular issue from someone else in the organization? When you’re in a rush, it may seem like skipping this last phase of the retrospective is okay. Everyone starts thinking on their own and the sticky notes start piling up.