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The Agile Retrospective – Tips for success

So you ran your sprint and some of it went well, some of it not, how do you make the most out of this meeting?

I’ll use a common technique to start with then expand on the topic:

  • What should we keep doing

Do highlight your success, it matters. As a Scrum Master ensure that it keeps going.

  • What should we do less of

The bad behaviour, the poor organisation, the impediments that could have been avoided.

  • What should we do more of

If you started something successful and should keep doing it.

Now get the team to write up cards for each of these categories and put them on a wall. Get each team member to explain what they mean by each card that they’ve written. Group cards which are the same. Next everyone should score the cards with 4 as highest, 3, 2 & 1 point against those they like best. Total up all the scores and find the 3 to 5 most popular. They should be achievable! Concentrate on those items in the next sprint.

OK so those are the basics. We can only do so much each sprint, and sometimes we need to embed behaviours into the team over time. So get your first set of cards and make these “primary”. Discuss how you will measure them so you know what success looks like and what the steps are to achieve them. If you don’t do this you may not improve at all!

Next retrospective refer to your “primary” cards and measure success. Run the retrospective as previously discussed. Now you may have selected new top cards. Typically you would just pick these for the next sprint, not this time! Look at your “primary” cards and decide if any of your new selection should replace the current set. This way you can keep concentrating on items until you’ve mastered them. You only do 3-5 to make sure the team is focused. Put the cards up in a very visible place during the sprint. As a Scrum Master you may wish to monitor these throughout the Sprint.

As a Scrum Master you could also keep a record of how the team has improved over time as you complete the year. Great for your appraisal and team morale 🙂

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