The retrospective is probably one of the most important aspects of every agile implementation. In order to keep it helpful and valuable, i recommend that scrum masters and facilitators learn about different ways of conducting retrospectives and use different activities in their retrospectives, this helps in keeping this meeting interesting and fun which leads to more learning and creativity.
A customer i am working with just finished its “pilot” scrum project, to wrap up the pilot and share the learning we thought that it would be nice to have a summary retrospective.
This retrospective went really well, and in this post i will share the retrospective plan we used. Here we go.
This retrospective had two goals:
- Share the learning of the team with others in the organization.
- Generate learning towards expanding the Scrum implementation into LeSS implementation.
Opening : Leave your troubles at the door.
We welcomed the people in the room and shared the goals for the meeting.
Then we gave each participant a memo note and a pen, and asked them to write down what is bothering them right now, we collected the memos and put them in a box that was placed next to the door of the room. We then declared that all of their problems are waiting at the door and we can now continue with the rest of the meeting.
Gather data - Fishbowl discussion
Again we gave the participants memo notes and asked them to write questions that they have for the pilot team or issues that they want to be discussed with the team. All of the notes were put into a box. At that point we changed the seating arrangement into two circles - inner and outer.
We asked the team that was participating in the pilot to sit in the inner circle and the others to sit in the outer circle.
The discussion went as follows: The facilitator pulled out a note from the box and read it for all to hear, the team then discussed the question or issue amongst themselves, while the outer circle was requested to keep quiet and listen without interfering the discussion (after all, they are fish…), in case someone in the outer circle had a followup question they could take a memo and add another question to the box.
Following the fishbowl discussion, we requested that each person that is interested will write down on an A4 paper, based on their understanding and learning from the discussion, what is the most important aspect or topic that they think we need to address towards expanding the Scrum implementation.
We then performed a fun dot voting to determine what were the most interesting topics to discuss and generate action items for the expansion of the agile implementation to the rest of the product group. The dot voting was called “put your money where your mouth is” and the SM brought fake money and gave each person several bills, each person then distributed their investment between the different topics, based on what they thought was worth investing time in.
Decide what to do - The perfection game.
I have written about the perfection game in the past, and if you haven’t already, i highly recommend you use this technique from time to time. While using the perfection game we were able to generate 3 action items to be done with regards to expanding the agile implementation.
Closing - What surprised you?
To wrap up and close the meeting, we asked each participant to share what surprised him\her in this meeting.
That’s all folks, that was one idea for a retrospective. But there are more.
If your are like me, and agree about the importance of the retrospective, you might want to check out Angel Medinilla’s week of workshops this October (2015) in Israel, in addition to the other 3 workshops, her will run one workshop called “Kaizen events” dedicated to learning and improving your retrospectives. Click here for more details.