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Retrospectives are meetings where a team reflects on how members work together and considers ways to improve their process. They are typically practiced on agile teams, but any team can reap the benefits of an hour spent reflecting on previous work.

This session will give you everything you need to start incorporating these meetings into your existing process or to finesse the existing retrospective meetings you currently have, including:

How to facilitate a retrospective
How to create an action plan and stick to it
Variations of retrospectives and when to use each
Incorporating retrospectives into an existing non-agile process
Troubleshooting unproductive and hostile retrospectives

Learn how to incorporate and improve retrospectives, promote stronger communication, and increase trust among your team members.


Rachel Krause

August 08, 2019

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  1. NOT JUST FOR AGILE TEAMS RETROSPECTIVES Rachel Krause @rachelkrau Slides:

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  4. @rachelkrau 4 Hey, I’m Rachel. UX Specialist, 
 Nielsen Norman

    Group - Content creation (articles, videos, classes/workshops, etc.) - Teach full-day workshops for 
 UX conferences and clients - Conduct UX research - Consulting with clients Scrum.org Certified - Professional Scrum Master - Professional Scrum with User Experience
  5. I’ve been in a LOT of retros.

  6. @rachelkrau Applications The many ways you can use retrospectives to

    work for yourself and your teams Variations Finding a method that works best for your situation and how to facilitate Agenda 6 1 The Basics Why retrospectives are valuable and the importance of having an action plan 2 3 4 Troubleshooting Tips for getting the most out of your retrospectives and identifying issues
  7. @rachelkrau The Basics 7

  8. @rachelkrau 8 What is
 a retro? A regular meeting where

 team reflects on the previous increment of work. - What went well - What can be improved - Create an action plan for the future The Basics
  9. @rachelkrau 9 Neat.
 But why? Successes show us what we

    want to keep doing. Failures identify opportunities 
 for us to improve our process 
 as a team. The Basics
  10. @rachelkrau Failure. 10

  11. @rachelkrau FAILURE! 11 ☠

  12. @rachelkrau 12 Who to
 invite? Everyone who contributed 

    the team: - Fully dedicated to the project - Partially dedicated to the project 
 (ex: separate design team) The Basics
  13. @rachelkrau 13 Words ≠
 actions. Your action plan is the

    most important takeaway from the retrospective. - What do we need to do to improve our process the next time? Words are just words without 
 an action plan. The Basics
  14. @rachelkrau 14 Follow 
 the rules. 1. Set expectations. 2.

    Focus on continuous improvement. 3. Don’t play the blame game. 4. Keep an open mind. The Basics
  15. @rachelkrau Variations 15

  16. @rachelkrau 16 Variety
 is key. Most varieties of retros follow

    the same format, but guide the conversation differently. - What went well - What didn't go so well Keep things interesting! Variations
  17. @rachelkrau 17 Get it
 together. Get everyone in a room

    together. - Post-its - Whiteboard - Projector - Discourage laptop usage Don’t skip these just because your team has remote members. - Stickies.io, Trello, Confluence, Miro, MURAL, Google Slides - Turn your camera on Variations
  18. @rachelkrau 18 The 4 Ls What did you LIKE? What

    was LACKING? What did you LEARN? What do you LONG FOR 
 going forward? Variations
  19. @rachelkrau The 4 Ls 19 Variations

  20. @rachelkrau 20 When 
 to Use
 ‘The 4 Ls’ When

    you’re starting a new process or experiment. - Design Thinking or other new-to-you framework When you’re iterating on an existing technique. When you’re evaluating the success of an entire project. Variations
  21. @rachelkrau 21 Sailboat What propels us forward? What slows us

    down? What risks are coming up? Variations
  22. @rachelkrau Sailboat 22 Variations

  23. @rachelkrau Breaking Bad Edition 23 Variations

  24. @rachelkrau 24 When 
 to Use
 ‘Sailboat’ To guide conversations

    amongst development teams. When you’re working with a new client or stakeholder. When you want to challenge your team to be creative. Variations
  25. @rachelkrau 25 SWOT Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats Variations

  26. @rachelkrau SWOT 26 Variations

  27. @rachelkrau SWOT 27 Variations

  28. @rachelkrau 28 When 
 to Use
 ‘SWOT’ When you’re evaluating

    a new process in your organization. When you’re revisiting content in a course or training. When you’re evaluating yourself and your career goals. Variations
  29. @rachelkrau 29 Freeform Literally sitting around a table talking to

    each other. Variations
  30. @rachelkrau Freeform 30 Variations

  31. @rachelkrau 31 When 
 to Use
 ‘Freeform’ When you have

    an established team that communicates well. When you have a proven track record of accomplishing your action plans. Variations
  32. Regardless of method, track and revisit action plans. Variations

  33. @rachelkrau 33 Variations

  34. @rachelkrau Applications 34

  35. @rachelkrau 35 Agile 
 Teams Facilitate a retro at the

    end of every sprint — no exceptions! Aim for 30-90 minutes, depending on the health of 
 the team. Pitch a one-sprint experiment if you want to try a new technique. Variations
  36. @rachelkrau 36 Design 
 Teams Evaluate team communication, consistency, design

    tools, and processes. Choose your cadence: monthly or quarterly. Variations
  37. @rachelkrau 37 Leadership Teams Discuss company initiatives and goals, hiring

    practices, and offerings. Switch up the variation depending on the topic. Aim for quarterly retros to check progress and yearly retros to set new initiatives. Variations
  38. @rachelkrau 38 Yourself! Variations

  39. @rachelkrau 1.5 Years Ago 39 Variations

  40. @rachelkrau 40 Variations

  41. @rachelkrau 41 Variations

  42. @rachelkrau 42 Pause & 
 reflect. Recognize your achievements and

    how far you’ve come. Give yourself a practical action plan for your goals: - Career change - Learn a new skill - Become a better person Variations
  43. @rachelkrau Troubleshooting 43

  44. @rachelkrau 44 Spend 5
 on kudos. The bulk of

    your retro should focus on the accomplishments of the team as a whole. Acknowledge individuals as part of “kudos” in the beginning of the meeting to encourage comfort and participation. Troubleshooting
  45. @rachelkrau 45 Switch
 up the
 facilitator. Passing the facilitator role

    will help teams stay engaged over time. Everyone can be involved at some point in the meeting. Troubleshooting
  46. @rachelkrau 46 Look
 around. If your team is meeting regularly

    and no issues arise, your team does not feel comfortable bringing them up. - Is there a superior monitoring issues that are brought up? - Is failure a concept that your company is afraid of? Make your retrospective meeting a safe space. Every team will have areas for improvement. Embrace it. Troubleshooting
  47. @rachelkrau 47 Track 
 patterns. Revisit your action plan during

    your increment and at your next retrospective. - Bring up action items during standups or regular check-ins - Items that have not been completed are added to your next action plan - Designate a new owner if needed Acknowledge how far you’ve come as a team. Troubleshooting
  48. @rachelkrau 48 Get 
 meta. Evaluate if your retros are

    productive for your team: - Are they helping make projects better? Are you actually seeing improvements, or are you playing a game of whack-a-mole? - Are you solving problems or just treating the symptoms? Troubleshooting
  49. @rachelkrau 49 It won’t
 be perfect
 right away. Teams take

    time to mature and trust each other. If you’re seeing forward progress, your retros are successful. If you’re not, switch up your methods. Troubleshooting
  50. @rachelkrau Bottom Line 50

  51. Retros 
 build trust.

  52. Retros 
 help you learn and grow.

  53. Retros 
 are for everyone.

  54. @rachelkrau 54 Thank 
 you! Keep in touch! - @rachelkrau

    - hello@rachelkrau.com - nngroup.com/people/rachel-krause More about retros: - https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ux- retrospectives/ - https://www.nngroup.com/videos/retrospectives/ - https://www.atlassian.com/team-playbook/plays/ retrospective
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