Improving software delivery in every organisation

Retrospective Planning

Exercises

  1. Before continuing you should read the information below.
  2. As a whole group, brainstorm the purpose of a retrospective for your team.
  3. As a whole group, brainstorm what you think an ideal retrospective facilitator;
    • Should do
    • Should not do
  4. Individually think of some specific challenges that would be hard to uncover or work past in a retrospective.
  5. In pairs, work together to design or choose two retrospective plans
    • Write down what extra materials you will need to run them
    • (If applicable) Decide between you who will facilitate which plan
  6. Present back to the group your retrospective plans and any specific reasons for choosing them given what you discovered in 2, 3 and 4.

The Prime Directive

Retrospectives are meant to be a healthy, fun activity in which the team discusses the way they work together.

This is in direct contrast to blame culture, where people feel the need to hide what they are struggling with.

A healthy “safe” agile culture is one where every team member feels comfortable enough to discuss their own and other’s mistakes.

We remember this quote every retrospective as a reminder of this:

“Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.”

Norm Kerth in Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Review

A basic retrospective

  • What went well?
  • What did not go well?
  • What can be done differently?
  • What do we still not understand?

Facilitating retrospectives

Extending from the basic questions, a facilitator may choose to get creative with formats. To make the retrospective fun.

There are a number of plans on the retrospectivewiki.org.

However it also possible to build your own plans, either free form, or by using other resources such as Liberating Structures.

Six thinking hats.

Another angle to look at retrospectives is using the six thinking hats approach.

  • Blue Hat - Discuss objectives for the retrospective (5 mins)
  • White hat - Discuss facts from the last iteration. (10 mins)
  • Yellow Hat - Discuss only good things from the last iteration. (10 mins)
  • Black Hat - Discuss only the bad things that happened. (10 mins)
  • Green Hat - Discuss solving problems. Blue sky thinking encouraged. (10 mins)
  • Red Hat - On the shared board, write down 2 emotive statements for each issue / solution. (5 mins)

Spend some time looking at the Red Hat output.

Are there any themes?

Do any particularly stand out?

Ensure the actions are easy to execute.

References

retrospectivewiki.org

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