How we gave the humble retro a makeover
Not long after I started at Rabid, I heard someone mention a retro, it didn’t take me long to discover they weren’t talking about my favourite era of collectable homewares!
After attending an Agile workshop at Boost New Media it became clear that we might not having been doing justice to the Sprint Retrospective.
Armed with a supply of stickies and sharpies, and with a willing team to experiment on, we held a Retrospective on our Retrospectives. It felt good to talk about why we had marginalised the retro (low on energy, fear of criticism, takes too long) and discuss how important a good retro could be for the team (positive feedback, improving our process and productivity). We came away with a Retrospective Working Agreement and a plan for future retros; giving it the time and respect it deserves.
But I felt I needed more.
Back to Boost I went for another workshop on Retrospectives and a reading list that included Agile Retrospectives (by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen).
We’ve had several Retrospectives since with much better outcomes. We now allocate around 45 minutes to our retro, we talk about process, feelings, the nitty gritty of a Sprint and we try to have a bit of fun as well. I think the team is enjoying it (and not finding it a chore), but maybe that’s the lure of a bowl full of lollies. Either way- we are making progress. For data gathering we have tried the Learning Matrix; Glad, Sad, Mad and Speedboat. Good exercises for smaller teams are hard to find, Retr-O-Mat is a great resource (thank you Gavin). I’d love to hear about your experiences with Retrospectives and what exercises you have found successful so please tweet me at @NZSandraJC.
If you find you are skipping your retros, or only allocating 10-15 minutes for it at the end of another meeting, I encourage you to re-evaluate this and give your retro a makeover as well. It has worked for us.
And if you really are in the market for some great retro homewares - drive over the hill to the Wairarapa and visit Fuzzy in Carterton, a hidden treasure.