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Using Retrospectives to Channel Feedback


A meeting where a team looks back on a past period of work so that they can ... Capture output (photograph/intranet/document), only make public with permission of team ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Using Retrospectives to Channel Feedback

Using Retrospectives to Channel Feedback
  • Rachel Davies Peter Brown

Session Overview
  • Introduction 20 mins
  • Exercise
  • part 1 Safety
  • part 2 Timelines
  • part 3 Action planning
  • Debrief 15 mins

What is a Retrospective?
  • A meeting where a team looks back on a past
    period of work so that they can learn from their
    experience and apply this learning to future

Project Retrospectives
  • Retrospectives were pioneered by Norman Kerth,
    author of Project Retrospectives a handbook for
    team reviews
  • His book describes exercises for facilitating
    end of project retrospectives at a three day
    off-site meeting

Heartbeat Retrospectives
  • XP teams adapted Kerth's techniques to fit within
    their iterative development cycle
  • Adaptation XP Style - XP2001
  • Retrospectives support
  • XP values Communication and Feedback
  • XPv2 principles Humanity, Improvement, Reflection
    and Opportunity
  • XPv2 practice Root Cause Analysis

Agile Reflection
  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
    to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts
    its behavior accordingly. Agile Manifesto
  • Scrum method has a Sprint Review meeting that
    incorporates a Retrospective
  • Reflection Improvement is a property of Crystal
  • Agile projects aim to use Retrospectives during
    the life of the project rather than after
    catastrophic failure!

Retrospective Cycle
  • Types of Interim Retrospective
  • Heartbeat within iteration cycle
  • Milestone after a major release or within
    quarterly cycle
  • Custom in response to a surprise event

Why run an Interim Retrospective?
  • Learning
  • Reflection is a key step in learning from
  • Ownership
  • Gives a team a way to adapt process to their
  • Communication
  • Each member of the project team has different
    experience and when we share these perspectives
    we understand each other better

What a Retrospective is not ..
  • A Retrospective is not a Witch-Hunt
  • Retrospectives are not about blame
  • Problems arise from forces created in the
    system rather than destructive individuals. The
    focus is on what we can learn from what happened

Prime Directive
  • Kerth's Prime Directive
  • Regardless of what we discover, we must
    understand and truly believe that everyone did
    the best job he or she could, given what was
    known at the time, his or her skills and
    abilities, the resources available, and the
    situation at hand.

Mutual Learning
  • Assume..
  • People are trying to act with integrity, given
    their situation
  • I have relevant information, so do others
  • Each of us may see things that others do not
  • Differences are opportunities for learning

Negative Packaging
  • A message wrapped in a complaint may be worth
    listening to, but the negative packaging can harm
    the learning process
  • Retrospective format should use activities which
    try to diffuse the negative nature of complaints

Who runs a Retrospective?
  • Neutral Facilitator
  • Create an atmosphere in which team members feel
    comfortable talking
  • Ensures the team ground-rules are respected
  • Scribes what they hear but checks with the
    speaker for correctness
  • Tests assumptions and inferences
  • Asks for examples
  • Digs deeper, 5 Why's

Create Safety
  • Create an atmosphere in which team members feel
    comfortable talking openly and honestly
  • Establish ground rules
  • Everything is optional
  • Assess using secret ballot
  • 5 No problem
  • 1 No way

Ground Rules
  • For example..
  • We will try not to interrupt (use a talking
  • We will talk from our own perspective and not
    speak for anyone else
  • No jokes at the expense of anyone in the room
  • Turn phones off

Anatomy of a Retrospective
  • Create Safety
  • Build Timeline
  • Mine Timeline
  • Action Plans
  • Appreciations
  • Consider the context, adapt format to fit

Sample Timeline 1
  • Adapted Emotional Seismograph (Heartbeat)

Sample Timeline 2
  • Adpated Timeline with post-its (Milestone)

Sample Timeline 3
  • Create a project map (End of phase)

Mining The Time Line
  • What worked well?
  • What to do differently?
  • What still puzzles us?
  • Use flip-chart / white board to categorize

Action Plans
  • Discuss of actions to take lessons learned
  • Each action needs an owner responsible for
  • Display actions in team workspace
  • Capture output (photograph/intranet/document),
    only make public with permission of team
  • Review previous actions at the next retrospective

Who should attend?
  • Whole Team include different viewpoints
  • Developers
  • Testers
  • Customer
  • Project Manager
  • DBA

Any Questions?
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