Retrospective Questions

Today someone wrote with an inquiry, "What kinds of questions should one ask when doing a retrospective? What specific areas should a leader think about when drafting a retrospective, regardless of the rest of the format?"

I found this a difficult question to answer, yet I resisted writing back, "It depends." Though it does depend, on a number of factors, but most of all the goal. So, here's what I wrote back to him.

In Agile Retrospectives, Esther and I recommend setting a goal for each retrospective, then tailoring the activities and questions to that goal. Many teams have an...

Agile Retrospectives

The 20/80 End

On the Gemba Panta Rei blog post, Jon Miller says, “20% celebration, 80% reflection. In order to do kaizen right you have to celebrate your victories over waste. You need to make it fun.”

Agile Retrospectives

Anonymous Cards

At a recent users group meeting, I heard about a retrospective activity someone created. It wasn't an activity I would use as described (which is why I'm not more specific about who and where), but I thought it had possibilities. It's based on the idea of asking team members to write thoughts on index cards anonymously.

I've seen a number of variations on this theme. One I've led many times at the start of a retrospective I call "Sense of the Room" (included below).

This new activity lends itself to the Gathering Data focus of a retrospective. For want of a better...

Agile Retrospectives

What makes an Agile team?

A colleague who works outside the software industry asked me whether retrospectives would be good for his team and whether other Agile practices will work for them too.

Holding regular and frequent retrospectives (as well as a retrospective at the project's end) will help any project team reach its full potential. Even if your project doesn't follow an iterative life cycle, bring the team together for a retrospective at the project milestones (or monthly). Take a short "time out" for team members to recognize and consolidate what they've learned so far, and include those lessons learned in the next increment...

Agile Retrospectives

New Book

Please allow me a bit of a gloat.

Esther Derby and I wrote a book about retrospectives for projects using Agile methods, Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great! (published by Pragmatic Bookshelf) I actually held a copy in my hands for the first time just last night. The printer shipped them on Thursday. Baby books just born. Practically still wet.

The book offers information that lots of people will find useful, and that's good. But, the most exciting thing about it--it's my first book! I'm feeling all those first time author feelings, like a proud parent.

This coming week, I'm attending the Agile...

Agile Retrospectives