An agile retrospective is a regular ritual focused on celebrating, learning, working together, committing, and developing the team’s relationship. These products, taken together form the value of an agile retrospective.
If you are not familiar with agile, an agile team tries to deliver results every few weeks. At the end of that period, the team looks back and thinks about how things went, what went incredibly, what did not, what ideas could create developments, and then decides if they (the team) need to focus on any of those ideas. The team focuses on what they can develop over the next iteration.
Teams that work together and take the opportunity to have retrospectives learn about one another and develop their relationship as a team. Having sufficient time to pause and focus on the team and how it works together is an essential advantage of a team retrospective.
What’s the purpose of an agile retrospective?
Creates an environment encouraging continuous development
A team which focuses on solving issues and discovering approaches to develop creates a constant development culture. Such a team will show signs of development after some time, and, consequently, its members will figure out the most productive methods for delivering the best value to the users.
Serves to empower teams
During the retrospective, teams make and own their decisions. They consent to develop something together and feel responsible for the outcome, which directly affects the team’s maturity and productivity.
Works as a team-building meeting
This works particularly well in “new” or “young” teams, where people are becoming acquainted with one another. A retro can enable them to understand the value of being a team and solving issues together.
Helps people vent their frustrations
We all get disappointed and retro is the ideal opportunity to actually discuss this in a comfortable environment, where there are people who actually understand you.
Ideas to improve your Agile Retrospectives
Use the enhanced phase model
One of the reasons for bad retrospectives is the missing purpose. Any retrospective without a purpose is completely a waste of time. It doesn’t make sense to change your retrospectives normally and present new ideas as long as there is no purpose behind. But how can you inject purpose into your retrospectives? The appropriate response is: by using hypotheses.
- The first step is to check the hypotheses from the last retrospective. This is extremely powerful, as it offers you the possibility to check if the tasks from your last retrospectives had the impact you expected. Much of the time, you’ll discover that your theories weren’t right. Rather than normally checking in the event that you dealt with the majority of the projects you distinguished the last time, you moreover check if they were useful and had a beneficial outcome. In the event that your theories weren’t right, this offers you the chance to check why they didn’t have the normal result.
- Another change to the standard flow is the adaption of the step “Decide what to do.” You need to add a hypothesis to any project you identify. Else, you will not be able to check if the task made a difference. Ensure that your hypothesis is testable as described in the scientific method. If your hypothesis isn’t testable, it doesn’t make sense.
- The end step is equivalent to in the typical retrospective flow.
Use a goal-oriented approach
Normally each Agile Retrospective begins with gathering the information from the last sprint. Often enough it happens that the team discusses similar topics over and over and it feels like not moving anywhere. Yet, we insist beginning each retrospective from scratch. Rather, it could make sense to focus on one and only one topic for a predefined time allotment and make this the focal topic for the upcoming retrospectives.
Just imagine that the team has quality issues with their current product already for a while and all that they tried until now, was just a drop in the ocean. Now, the team decides to characterize the topic of developing the product quality as their fundamental subject for the next three month. This implies each retrospective in the following month will explicitly think about getting rid of these issues.
Focus on one thing during the Agile Retrospective
Another mistake that is made frequently is that the team needs to execute a greater number of experiments that they can. Rather, focus on precisely one experiment. This causes you to guarantee, that there is enough capacity to execute the experiment. Nothing is more irritating than a rundown of trials that no one worked on.
Pro tip: Don’t discard your other brilliant experiment ideas, yet placed them in an experiment backlog. If there is some capacity left, you may begin one of these, as well. Besides, you can shorten your next retrospective by simply choosing the following experiment with the highest probability of success from that backlog.
Valuable Agile Retrospectives
Agile retrospectives are an extraordinary method to continuously develop the method for working. Whatever way you decide to do retrospectives, guarantee that you continue doing them. Regardless of things seem to go well; there are always ways to improve! Receiving the outcomes of a retrospective that are doable, and completing them encourages teams to become agile in an agile way.
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