Undercover Retrospectives


Retrospectives in enemy territory

You know retrospectives are good for you. But what if you can’t hold a “real” retrospective? There could be many reasons:

  • We don’t have any time
  • We don’t feel safe
  • We don’t do silly, fluffy stuff like that
  • We don”t need to improve any more

Do you give up? No, that’s the kind of situation where you really need a retrospective.

Undercover retrospectives

Don’t organize retrospectives.

  1. Find some excuse to have a celebration. The end of a release or iteration. Two weeks without a build failure… Use your imagination
  2. Go out and get coffee and pastries. Or soft drinks and pizza. Take away Chinese…. Be creative
  3. Invite the team members, your customer, system engineers who put your software into productions, DBAs who nurse your precious data, people from other teams who helped you get to this success. Thank them for making the reason for the party happen.
  4. Now comes the devious bit. Get people talking about what went right. Ask them “If you could change one thing, what would it be?”. Ask them if they would like to research something new. Make mental notes of what people say (I don’t recommend alcohol at the celebration: you’re unlikely to remember what was said, the next day).
  5. Make it happen. Implement the suggestions; start research. By the next celebration, everyone will be pleasantly surprised that you listened to them and took their ideas seriously.

Try it! It doesn’t cost a lot of time and money, but it does wonders to your team.

Tags: Retrospective, Agile

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