Retrospectives are regarded as the most important event in Scrum. Yet, how often do they reach their potential of generating real and significant improvement? We will cover what it really takes to facilitate a retrospective. We will focus on the key elements of successful retrospectives: Set the stage, gathering data, generating insights, deciding what to do, and closing. I will share the tricks I’ve learned that allows teams to remember all of the improvements they’ve enjoyed.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Talk

  1. Facilitation Primer
    1. Own the process and space, but not the content and improvements
    2. How long should the retrospective be and how long should it take to prepare?
    3. Instead of looking up activities to plan an agenda, try using questions
    4. 5 parts of a retrospective: Set the Stage, Gather Data, Generate Insights, Decide What to Do, and Close
  2. Set the Stage
    1. Pitfalls of the Safety Check
      1. What do you do when there is a response that indicates a lack of safety?
  3. Gather Data
    1. "Data" is what we can see (Objective) or feel (Subjective)
    2. An example that has both:
      1. On one axis, list all the things that happened where one end of the axis is good and the other bad
      2. Add another axis where one end is, "Within our control" and the other is, "Outside our control"
  4. Generate Insights
    1. Grouping and Theming is common but doesn't go far enough in acknowledging the connections that lead to a meaningful insight
    2. Debriefing is critical to generating insights
      1. What do you see
      2. What stands out or surprises you
      3. What does that mean
      4. What change is that leading you to make
    3. 1-2-4 Technique for debriefing
      1. Individually look at what you see
      2. In a pair share what stands out to each of you
      3. In a group of 4, share what meaning there might be
    4. Deciding What to Do
      1. SMART goals aren't good enough for most
        1. Instead, use focusing questions
          1. What will you do?
          2. How will you know it was successful?
          3. When can we check?
      2. How you phrase building action items are important
        1. These are actions that MIGHT be an improvement
      3. Answering a question is a legitimate outcome from a retrospective
        1. Investigate test instability vs Re-write the tests
      4. Abandon 3-5 action items in favor of a single one
        1. Provides focus, clarity, and practice
    5. Close
      1. I'll often say, "Share any one thing you got from this retrospective?"
    6. Summary
      1. My measure for a great retrospective is one that doesn't need follow-up, the team accomplishes their actions themselves, and they remember the result
      2. Safety checks are very serious and demand practice to do effectively
      3. Generating Insights is the hinge point of a great retrospective
      4. Use focusing questions to create SMART goals
      5. Limit the number of action items to add focus

Learning Outcome

  • Learn to structure and plan your retrospectives using the 5 stages: Set the stage, gather data, generate insights, decide what to do, and close
  • How to turn data into actionable insights during a retrospective
  • Creating action items that people will follow through on themselves

Target Audience

Retrospective facilitators and those interested in becoming facilitators

schedule Submitted 7 months ago

Public Feedback

comment Suggest improvements to the Speaker
  • Lynn Winterboer
    By Lynn Winterboer  ~  7 months ago
    reply Reply

    Hi - Thanks for submitting to MHA!  Can you provide slides for review?


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