PERSPECTIVE: Importance of Sprint Retrospective


One of the four items in Agile Manifesto is:

value individuals and interactions over processes and tools

And one of the twelve principles induced from the manifesto is:

Build projects around motivated individuals, give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done

Unfortunately, in practice, most of Scrum teams overlook the importance of conducting  the Sprint Retrospective meeting, which in addition to discussing what improvements should be in the next sprint, It should focus opportunities for improvements in team interaction, motivation and environment.

This is a vital aspect of ensuring continual improvement in the way team conduct the work. A good Scrum Master  knows that the Sprint Retrospective is a critical success factor in any execution as it helps to:  increase productivity, adjust team work,  enhance team harmony , and most importantly restore damaged relations and lost trust among team members as a result of the work done in the last Sprint.

To conduct  a constructive Retrospective meeting I recommend the following:

    1. Be open and transparent to all issues raised by all  team members.
    2. Don’t underestimate the impact of any issue on the team work and productivity.
    3. Focus on events and issues rather than people and names.
    4. Avoid pointing fingers and be firm about it
    5. You can always use Delphi Technique 1  to neutralize subjectivity and personal issues.
    6. Split the time between “what went wrong”, “what could be improved” and “Actions to take”. Don’t mix them, each phase needs a different mindset.
    7. Make the team participate in suggesting and deciding on fixes and enhancements.
    8.  Finally, make the purpose of the meeting very clear which is not to “Blame” but to “Improve”.

1 Delphi Technique on wikipedia

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