Agile Retrospective Alternatives

Team retrospective can be monotonous sometimes. Having variations of retrospective can help teams be more involve in the sessions and be more creative in finding a solution together. Here is a list of different alternatives of retrospective that your team can try.

The classic

retro_1

This is the most common and straight forward retrospective agenda. The steps are:

  • Ask the team to write on post its things that went well and things that should be improved (5 min).
  • Afterwards discuss what went well. It is important to acknowledge these success as well as failures that went on during the sprints (10 min).
  • Next discuss each items that should be improved and then allocate action points (40 min).

 

The two truths and a wish

retro_2

This type of retrospective helps each team member think about what happens:

  • Ask the team to prepare 3 statements each in one postit. Two statements are things that happened during the sprint that are true and one statement is formulated in a form of a wish (5 min).
  • Ask each team member to say the sentences and other team members guess which statement is a wish (2 min/person).
  • Place all the postit on a board. All truths in one area and the wishes in a different area.
  • Group the truths and the wishes.
  • Discuss with the team what can be done with the truths and wishes. Make action points out of them (20 min).

 

The Mad, Sad, Glad

retro_3

  • Ask the team to write on postits the things that made them mad, sad and glad during the sprint (10 min).
  •  The moderator will group the results.
  • The team will do dot voting which group they think is most important (5 min).
  • Discuss with the team what can be done with the item that got the most votes. Make action points out of them (45 min).

 

The Starfish

retro_4

  • Stop – These are the wasteful activities that do not bring value to a team or customer.
  • Less – These are activities that bring small/little value.
  • Keep – These are activities that is perceived to bring benefit the team or customer. These activities should be continued.
  • More – These are useful activities that the team should focus more on because it shows potential of bringing more value.
  • Start – Thesea are new activities that the team want to bring to the sprints to try out.

For each categories, there is an order to use them in the retrospective:

  1. Ask each team member to think and write down each category (start, stop, more, keep and less) (5 min)
  2. Now ask each member of the team to read out loud what they wrote in the “stop” category (5 min). Repeat activity for the category (more, keep and less).
  3. For the category “start” spend some time and ask the team to vote on the topics that is most important for the team. Convert them into action points (20 min).

Conclusion

Whatever retrospective you choose, the team needs to make sure of a few things:

  • Preparation: give the team time to think about the what happened in the last sprint. Perhaps remind them early in the day during stand up to think about what they want to discuss during the retrospective.
  • Make sure everyone participates: some team member are naturally more active than others, the scrum master should try to involve everyone in the discussion.
  • Always come out with action points: a retrospective is only as good as its outcome. Make sure the team comes out with action points on how to improve in the next sprints.
  • Acknowledgement and appreciation: Do not forget to take some time to acknowledge and appreciate team member or event that went well. It is important to boast the team morale.
  • Use the right tools: When the team is colocated, the good old postit and board is sufficent to do the job. However, a retrospective can also be done with a remote team. Use whatever tool neccessary, e.g. Google doc, Confluence, Google Hangout, Skype, that promotes realtime communication.

Other references

  1. https://www.retrium.com/webinar/seven-secrets-of-highly-effective-retrospectives
  2. https://labs.spotify.com/2014/09/16/squad-health-check-model/
  3. http://www.funretrospectives.com/

 

 

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