Keeping the Scrum Retrospectives fresh

Photo Credit: jpkoenig via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jpkoenig via Compfight cc

The last meeting for most Scrum teams in the Sprint is the Scrum Retrospective.  This meeting is similar to the waterfall post-mortem meeting where the team reviews the things that went well and those that need to improve.  We have talked before about the Start Stop Continue Retrospective before.  Any process be it Scrum or anything else needs a feedback mechanism.  Without this in place the team has a difficult time improving things.  One of the benefits of a Scrum Retrospective over the typical waterfall post-mortem is simply the frequency.  When we give feedback more often we can build in the practices we do that add value.

Here are some benefits of a well run Sprint Retrospective from MSDN:

  • The entire team is engaged
  • Discussion focuses on the team rather than individuals
  • The team’s Definition of Done is visited and hopefully expanded
  • A list of actionable commitments is created
  • The results of the previous Sprint Retrospective are visited
  • The discussion is relevant for all attendees

Having led a few Retrospective meetings I know about how important team engagement is.  We had a team member who would sometime withdraw mentally if things weren’t go there way.  The meeting would suffer without their participation.  I always tried  to keep things focused on the team and positive, but once in a while someone would want to bash on an individual and that was never good for morale.

A good Scrum Master knows they need to vary things as a technique can grow stale.  There are many options out there to change the pace of your Retrospective.  The Agile Retrospective Wiki has a lot of options listed.  Here are just a few that they share:

  1. 6 Thinking Hats Retrospective
  2. Pillars Of Agile Spiderweb Retrospective
  3. Appreciative Retrospective
  4. Top 5
  5. Plan of Action

The Retrospective is an important way to end your Sprint.  Don’t ever rush through it as we sometimes may want to.  There is great value in getting constructive feedback for the team.  The product of a good Retrospective is a few items to focus on for the next Sprint.  This is always a good way to keep things moving in the right direction.

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