Endless Blessings for Your Team

Recently, I read an interview between Bernie DeKoven (who has aliases as varied as: Major Fun, The Shaman of Play, and more) and Barry Joseph (Associate Director For Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives, at the American Museum of Natural History). While the whole interview is delightful, and I recommend it, I was particularly struck by the game called “The Out Blessing Game” or “Endless Blessings.”

Focus on Learning

We’re happy to announce that FutureWorks Consulting staff, Willem Larsen and Diana Larsen, have published a new book through the innovative, interactive publishing service Leanpub. The Leanpub story is interesting in itself, and we hope you will check it out. But more about the book!

Agile & Retrospective

Steve Berczuk writes a short and succinct article on TechWell describing, “Why Agile Retrospectives are Important in Software Development.” I’m looking forward to reading the comments and responses he gets. More and more I think of Agile Retrospectives as an opportunity for the kind of learning that leads to real adaptive action in complex situations.

Agile Retrospectives

Retrospectives: A Tool For Continuous Improvement

Many leaders focus on improving productivity and performance. Leaders who support regular retrospectives gain an effective organizational learning tool that guides project teams (and ongoing work groups) to reflect on their technical, human and organizational systems that affect performance. A well-facilitated retrospective gathers together significant project stakeholders (including the development team members and other critical players) to review their project experience, learn from the experience, and take action to improve - in the next iteration, the next release, and for all future projects.

Does your organization utilize retrospectives as part of its project management goals? If not, here are some simple...

Set the Stage with Check-ins

Coincidence is a funny thing. Have you noticed that some topic/issue/concept/activity will come up in your life, then for a while you bump into it everywhere? Happens to me all the time. Lately, I’ve been bumping into new ideas for check-in activities, and reminders about familiar ones.

Retrospectives

Acting on Actions

Every time I ask about team’s challenges with retrospectives, a recurring theme comes up: Acting on Actions. I hear, “Our team doesn’t follow through on our plans for action.” Or I hear, “Our team never identifies improvement actions.” Both are retrospective “smells.”

Adaptive Action Method: An HSD Retrospective

Diana has written previously about the Human Systems Dynamics Institute and their excellent program that provides models and methods for dealing with our VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world of complex adaptive human systems. In this post she focuses on the HSD Adaptive Action model and its unexpected connection to retrospectives:

In 2006 Esther and I introduced a Flexible Framework for Agile Retrospectives, a series of stages for designing effective retrospectives: Set the Stage; Gather Data; Generate Insights; Decide What to Do; and Close the Retrospective. We recommended a recurring cycle of retrospectives after each iteration as a process for the team to "reflect, tune and adjust", as the Agile Manifesto principle decrees.

Project Weather

Add "Project Weather" to your retrospective design to both "Set the Stage" and "Close the Retrospective". As an opening, it provides a useful segue into creating a shared story and begins the process of gathering data. As a closing, it illustrates any shifts in team members' perspectives that have occurred as a result of their collaboration in the retrospective.

To Prepare:

Create a pre-drawn flip chart with a heading at the top: Project Weather. Add hand drawn graphics across the top, like a sun coming out from behind clouds, clouds and rain, or even the occasional tornado! Divide the flip chart...

Do Don't Try

Martin Jul writes about a retrospective activity in the post “Retrospectives - Adapting to Reality.” He describes an interesting process for highlighting issues in the Generating Insights part of a retrospective session.