What exactly is a retrospective? Who takes part and what happens? All on one handy page. Original article by Corinna Baldauf, referencing the 5 phases described by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen.
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Content of the 1-Pager:
What is a Retrospective?
A retrospective is an opportunity to learn and improve. It is time set aside – outside of day-to-day routine – to reflect on past events and behaviors. In its simplest form the team reflects on 3 questions:
- What did we do well?
- What did we do poorly?
- What will we do differently next time to improve?
In Scrum, retrospectives are short and done often (e.g. 1h for a 2-week sprint). In Kanban there’s a variety of ways to “schedule” retrospectives.
Who takes part?
“The team” whoever that includes in your context. In Scrum it’s at least the dev team & sometimes the PO. The SM facilitates. If you have a specific topic that includes / affects people from outside the team invite them to work on a joint solution.
In its simplest form, a bunch of people
- talk about stuff and
- agree on some actions (that will hopefully improve the situation)
Usually retrospectives are more sophisticated than that and follow the 5 phases (see image on
the left) suggested in the book “Agile Retrospec-tives”.
You can support each phase with activities to spark ideas and interaction (see plans-for-retro-spectives.com for examples).
What is a retrospective NOT?
- A blame game – It’s not about assigning blame. Concentrate on what you will do in the future.
- Just another meeting in which talk is cheap but no change follows – If the retrospectives don’t produce concrete plans of actions or no one carries them out afterwards, retrospectives are a waste of time.
But yours will be successful for sure! Give it a try!