Effective Retrospectives

A key, often overlooked component of agile is effective retrospectives. I recently read Agile (micro)Management, and I realized how retrospectives are not only the key to continual improvement, but when conducted thoughtfully and transparently, they lead to improved engagement in the agile process.

Although I personally prefer the Stop, Start, Continue, More of Less of wheel method, there are many effective retrospectives techniques. To improve the effectiveness of agile, know the available techniques and test them out in your organization. And remember, retrospectives are the key to continual improvement.

Keys to Retrospective Success:

Consistency
For effective team engagement, as well as for continual improvement, retrospectives should be conducted regularly.

Inclusive
Retrospectives should include all agile team members.

Transparent
Items raised during retrospectives should be discussed in a positive, constructive manner. All team members should be aware of the ultimate conclusion. Items should not be swept under a rug.

Followup
Items that the team agrees should be addressed should have clear action items, that are followed through on. If the same item is raised at every retrospective, confidence in agile will slowly erode.

Retrospectives are one of the most critical aspects of effective agile implementations. Make sure you not only conduct regular retrospectives, also insure they are effectively conducted. It will give everyone greater confidence in agile, and it will insure that continual improvement is occurring.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. – Principles behind the Agile Manifesto