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PromptWorks Talk Tuesdays: Yvonne Chen 1/24/17 "Agile-Retros"

PromptWorks Talk Tuesdays: Yvonne Chen 1/24/17 "Agile-Retros"

Just a quick primer on not only what agile retros are but how to do them right and why we do them.



January 30, 2017


  1. Retros

  2. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become

    more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. – 12th Agile Principle
  3. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again

    and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein?
  4. // 888-915-7768 // confidential and proprietary Why Have Retros?

    Agile encourages and welcomes change. To assume that a team never changes nor needs improvements is simply not true. By building in a ritual of process improvement, we ensure that the team will always improve. Retros are an opportunity for the team to reflect, and also for management to hear feedback about the project’s progress and team health.
  5. Form Norm Why Have Retros? Storm Perform Tuckman’s Stages of

    Group Development
  6. // 888-915-7768 // confidential and proprietary

  7. • Celebrate success • Reflect on progress and performance •

    Identify areas of improvement • What went well during the sprint? • What went wrong during the spring? • What could we do differently to improve? What Do Retros Reflect On?
  8. None
  9. // 888-915-7768 // confidential and proprietary Retros need to

    be a safe space for: • Open, honest feedback • Privacy – just the team • Constructive reflection How to Conduct a Retro
  10. The Prime Directive Regardless of what we discover, we understand

    and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.
  11. // 888-915-7768 // confidential and proprietary Who Attends Just

    the team. In scrum: this means the PO, Scrum Master, and The Team. This also means no managers! Usually the retro is run by the Scrum Master. However, the retro can be facilitated by anyone, sometimes even guests to keep it fresh.
  12. // 888-915-7768 // confidential and proprietary

  13. // 888-915-7768 // confidential and proprietary By and large,

    retros look back at the sprint just completed. Only items inside the team’s control are addressed. From there, it’s wide open: • Team processes • User stories and requirements • DevOps tweaks • Bugs and code smells What’s Discussed
  14. // 888-915-7768 // confidential and proprietary Process Discuss what’s

    working and not working for the team. For newer teams, feedback can be anonymous. Keep it specific. Discuss all feedback. Identify potential action items. Prioritize the most important items to work on in the next sprint.
  15. // 888-915-7768 // confidential and proprietary When and Why

    Retros Fail • Failure to review past retro commitments. ◦ #1 killer of retros, when they become “stale.” • Failure to prioritize actions and taking on too much. • Retros turn into the blame game. ◦ Don’t suppress team feelings, but don’t let a negative attitude take over your retro, either. ◦ Suggestions, not complaints. • External stakeholders attend – everyone, even teams, needs a little privacy.
  16. // 888-915-7768 // confidential and proprietary But They’re Not

    Only For Sprints You can have a retro after a release, too. (We call it a post-mortem.) • Thank the team. • Examine lessons learned from the entire release – a bigger scope of reflection yields different process improvements. • Celebrate success!
  17. // 888-915-7768 // confidential and proprietary Some Tips for

    Facilitators • “What else?” instead of “Anything else?” • No screens, please. • Make retros fun, especially for teams new to each other (snacks, donuts, games.) • Remember the introverts or shy folks (but don’t call them out.) • Remember who’s who: Energizers and Check-ins. • Timebox your retro, and respect the team’s time. • Focus on the team’s health. • Read the room and change things up when you need to.
  18. • “The Classic” • 5 Why’s Root Analysis • Failure

    Modes & Effects Analysis (FMEA) • The Story of a Story • Timelines: by feelings, by data, by peaks and valleys • And more exercises to deploy judiciously, like: ◦ Safety Check ◦ Happiness Radar ◦ Other techniques A Facilitator’s Toolbox i.e., Keep It Fresh
  19. ret·ro·spec·tive From the Latin retrospectare, “to look back”

  20. Any Questions?