Continuous improvement: beyond retros
We seem to try to foster a mindset of continuously and relentlessly striving for improvement with mainly one practice: retrospectives have been our default and often only continuous improvement tool for years. I certainly used to think that retrospectives were the most important ceremony and as a coach I used to consider them as my main tool to drive improvement.
However, retrospectives are often disjointed from each other. The insights of one retrospective might be lost right after the end of it or until they are rediscovered in a future one. In addition, if we need to wait for the end of an iteration to look at improving, then can we really talk about continuous improvement?
In this talk, I want to look beyond retrospectives and explore which other tools (Toyota Kata, Improvement Boards, etc.) and other concepts we can inject and explore to foster a continuous improvement mindset. I will present my own journey by sharing experiments I conducted and am planning to carry out, what has worked for me but more importantly what hasn't and where I failed.
Outline/Structure of the Talk
This is a draft as this is a new talk and I am still in the process of building it. So the following outline will be reworked up until the potential presentation.
- What is wrong with retrospectives?
Introduction and looking at what are the main issues with retrospectives as a continuous improvement tool.
- Focus and improvement goals
How can we be more focussed in our continuous improvement? Quick introduction to Toyota Kata.
- Being more spontaneous about improvement
Andon retro or having a retro immediately each time we observe a problem
- Presentation of POPCORN flow as an improvement board
- What's next?
Summary of the main ingredients of continuous improvement and ideas for future experiments
The session also contains a few interactive questions for the audience to reflect on: the material presented and the way they can transform their own continuous improvement.
The main learning outcome is to realize that continuous improvement shouldn't be limited to retrospectives and that there are other tools/ideas we can experiment with to foster a continuous improvement mindset.
This session has also for goal to present some of these tools and ideas and prompt the participants to come up with their own ideas and experiments.
Anyone interested in continuous improvement