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What’s an Agile Retrospective and Why Would You Do It?

Make Better Teams

The agile manifesto suggests that a team reflect on how they can become better. This is known as an Agile Retrospective, and Ben Linders writes this post to help explain what that means, and how you can conduct an Agile Retrospective effectively. The benefit is apparent: by encouraging a team to examine how it works—and how it can work better—you’re allowing for a continuous growth of ability and skill. It’s a simple process once it’s understood: the team gathers at regular intervals to examine how they are doing on a particular iteration; they then adapt their process based on what is working or what is not. Linders goes on to explain the role of facilitator:

The retrospective facilitator (often the scrum master) should have a toolbox of retrospective techniques, and be able to pick the most effective one. Some of the techniques to do retrospectives are asking questions, state your feelings with 1 word, 5 times why (Root Causes) or asking why, solution focused/strengths and retrospective of retrospectives.

To assure that actions from a retrospective are done, they can be brought into the planning game, and made visible by putting them on the planning board. User stories can be used to plan and track bigger improvements, describing who, what and why. Every retrospective meeting starts by looking at the actions from the previous meeting, to see if they are finished (and to take action if not).

The Benefits of an Agile Retrospective

The benefits of an Agile Retrospective are numerous. For one thing, it’s remarkably faster than a traditional “lessons learned” meeting which can occur at the end of a project. Team members both identify problems during a project and likewise determine how to resolve them (and who is best suited to do so).

In the last few paragraphs, Linders explains how to introduce Agile Retrospectives to your team, including scrum training and by implementing retrospectives without calling them retrospectives (that is, to not make a big deal out of the retrospective to allow a more organic growth inside your team).

Read the full article here: http://www.benlinders.com/2013/whats-an-agile-retrospective-and-why-would-you-do-it/

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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