Actionable retrospective ideas that
you can launch today.
Fast feedback loops and effective retrospectives can improve software delivery and make life easier for developers, project managers, and organizational leaders. On the other hand, bad feedback loops and retros can lead to frustration and lack of motivation.
Facilitation is everywhere. The crossing guard facilitates safe and easy travel of children across the street. The doula facilitates an easier birth for the birthing person. Teachers facilitate learning. Everywhere we look, we see the helpers. Those trying to make things easier.
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe … the “e” means nothing…) is the industry leading framework for scaling agile in a business or business unit. It’s used by some pretty big names like CVS, American Express, and FedEx.
Here’s a secret you didn’t know: Developers hate your retros. Not all developers and hopefully not all of your retros, but at some point, a developer has sat in one of your meetings and thought “this retro sucks”. You might wonder if this is a problem, but at the heart of agile lies one key concept, continuous improvement.
In order to keep your team retrospectives productive in the long-term, there are a couple of proven tactics you can use as a facilitator (but also as a team member). To make sure your team is excited for this meeting and you’re leading the team down the path of actionable takeaways, keep these following best practices at bay when you are planning or hosting your upcoming retrospectives.
Team Pulse is an analytics dashboard inside ScatterSpoke that does the heavy lifting so you can make data-driven decisions about your team process improvement and see patterns & trends develop over time.
The retro board we apply plays a fundamental part in facilitating different types of conversations and instigating a variety of ideas from within the team. Choose the right one for your distributed team.
The ScatterSpoke + Miro integration shows the contents of any Miro retrospective template inside ScatterSpoke. Now, you can gain real insights from past retros, hosted inside Miro, by tracking trends & patterns that will help you make better decisions.
Excellent retro facilitation comes down to five key factors: the right people, getting them talking, avoiding groupthink, actionable takeaways and the tools that make this process simple.
Three critical data points to review during every retrospective will anchor your decisions to change the system in stats, not opinion. Transforming your subjective retro into an efficient, smart meeting based on facts, figures, and quantifiable improvements.
Tracking your Improvement Rating in ScatterSpoke can go a long way to maintaining a data-driven, quantitative approach to how well you’re using your time together to improve how you deliver value.
Organizational level retros facilitate collective ownership of the company’s performance. They allow people from all levels of the organization to understand their impact on the system and identify ways for improving them.
More often than not retros feel empty, if not forced. Folks just adding cards because they feel they have to have something good to say. I chose this to encourage groups to think and decide what needs focused attention to amplify.
Our agile practices of inspecting and adapting to constantly changing environments has prepared us to be flexible and to experiment. Our Scrum Values have taught us how to be open and courageous. We need to incorporate these values and practices into our everyday lives now, more than ever.
Failing to recognize the diverse values and cultural preferences of colleagues usually lead to harmful assumptions that a difference in behavior is the result of a personal flaw, instead of recognizing it as a difference in social-emotional skills or cultural values.
The tricky side of conflict is that you don't want to eliminate it all together. As long as it is healthy, conflict within a team is actually a sign of life.
A scaled retrospective provides the chance to expand scope of improvements beyond the individual team.
Marketers are already in too many meetings; why should they keep up with some ridiculous Agile thing that just takes up space on their calendar?
When an agile team gets frustrated with the situation where nothing ever changes, it is easy to say that the retrospective became useless.
We need to talk about what to change to fix the big problems. These are not short conversations. This should be the priority of our time together as a team.
They are usually systemic and environmental. Often things that exist in this quadrant impact the other three. It’s critical to address this quadrant because by improving items here, you can see huge improvements everywhere else!
If you think retrospectives have lost their shine, why not run a retrospective on your retrospectives? Look back at the good ones, and the less inspiring ones, what might you not have tried yet?
To me, it felt that despite all the communication they had daily they weren't talking about the right things. I presented some potential issues but suggested we ask what everyone else thinks. The response was epic.
This retrospective design makes it simple to facilitate, enjoyable for participants, and opens people's eyes to the cause-effect relationship of the bigger system (beyond the team).
How many retrospectives have you been in where improvement didn't happen? The team meets, writes stickies, forms action items, and not much changes.
I would like to give to the group accountability. They should be the one deciding on this matter since they will be the one acting on it. The coach can ask them the question, "How will you solve this dilemma?"
One of the challenges we face as facilitiators is keeping everyone engaged in the conversation. This is true of sprint planning, story pointing and of course in retrospectives. There can be a lot of underlying reasons that a team stays quiet- here's our top five ways to get them talking again.