Monday, 21 March 2011

First Stab At a True Agile Retrospective

After several sprints without a proper retrospective, and after developers moaning and complaining about the lack of any retrospective (myself included) I have been tasked by the Technical Director (my boss) to perform a Retrospective this Friday following what in my mind has been a good 2 week sprint.

In the past we have performed basic retrospectives consisting of:
  • What went well?
  • Went wrong?
  • What can we do better?
These always seemed to get a little tedious and things never really got brought up in enough detail or people never really go down to the raw facts and figures. Maybe this is due to the management, the presenter or maybe its down to the dull, dry and predicable nature of the types of retrospective mentioned earlier.

So, trying to be truly Pragmatic and Agile, and to break the cycle I've been reading Agile Retrospectives this week, aiming to find alternatives and changes to the standard Retrospective.

Its been a great book to read, quick, factual, to the point and no nonsense advice on performing many different Retrospective activities and styles, advising on how to plan, prepare and perform many different types of activity. I haven't read many books like this in the past, usually keeping to the technical and geeky ones, but having read other books in the Pragmatic series, this one continues to meet expectations.

The book suggests following a standard pattern to Retrospectives, choosing different activities to meet the sprint an teams size. It always highlights that teams differ in size and ability and to tailor each Retrospective accordingly.

So, this is first draft general plan of attack:
  1. Intro - 5-10mins
  2. Check-ins? - 5-10mins
  3. Activity 1 | Time Line - 30-45mins
  4. Activity 2 |  Patterns & Shifts - 20-30mins
  5. Activity 3 | Locate Strengths - 30-45mins
  6. Activity 4 | Team radar - 15-20mins
  7. Conclusion - What to do next time? - 5-10mins
  8. Retrospect on the Retrospective - 5-10mins
    Activity 5 | Delta +/-

    (Conclusion/ Comments/feedback/improvements/Helped/Hindered/Hypothesis)
Due to time constraints I expect to drop one or more of the activities depending on how I feel the group is reacting and how time constrained I am.
Ill update the blog this weekend and let you know how it performs, and possible put some of the suggestions and data captured (with pictures).