Retrospectives: Sometimes dreaded, sometimes loved but always essential

Among all the components of Scrum, retrospectives are one of my favourites. A properly planned, efficiently executed, and regularly run retrospective can be like the glue that holds a team together.

My first experience in running a retrospective had surprising results.  We were working in a team of five but only two were present in the retrospective. Not only that, but of these two, neither could decide who should be running the retrospective. To be clear, this was not a Scrum team. But it is a team who is using some Agile methods to deliver a product once a week. Retrospectives are one of the methods. So without a clear ScrumMaster to facilitate the retrospective it was, let’s say, a little messy.

Despite all this, there were some positive results. The team had released a product every three weeks with success. The retrospective on the third week revealed challenges & progress, obstacles and opportunities.

The method used was the format of a Talking Stick Circle, where one person holds the floor and shares their reflections while others listen without interrupting and then the next person speaks and so on.

The major learning was that there were decisions to be made about who was doing which task at what time and in the end the direction was clear. Enthusiasm was high and the path forward was laid. The retrospective was a success.

The most remarkable part of the experience was hearing what was meaningful for others. When both people could share what they valued, hoped for and aspired to with the project it was easy to see what could be done next, using the skills, capacities and talents of team members.

For more resources on agile retrospectives, check out this link.

 


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