The agile retrospective
technique asks 4 basic questions that gets the team thinking about the outcomes of the last sprint, and what actions they should focus on next. While it is straightforward, it sends the basic message that you are listening and geared for improvement. Based on the book by Esther Derby, Diana Larsen and Ken Schwaber
, this tried and true method acts as an engine tune-up that keeps your team working at peak performance. Held regularly, it uncovers issues with the software development life cycle and gives your team a way to solve it together.
Rather than running a post mortem, regular agile retrospectives that are short, sharp and documented means that you can quickly make changes before it’s too late. Much like steering a big ship, it’s a lot easier to make small changes en route to the destination, than finding out at the end you have docked in the wrong port. Unlike debriefs or post mortems is it is intended to have a more positive and proactive focus.
Agile Retrospective Questions
What went well?
Focuses on success and things that people are proud of both from a technical or teamwork aspect.
What went less well?
Aims to identify areas for improvement, gaps in processes or misalignment.
What do we want to try next?
Creates a forward-looking perspective and encourages the team to problem solve.
What puzzles us?
Identifies potential challenges, hurdles or barriers that should be addressed in a timely manner.
The good news is that this format is relatively safe due to its objective nature. Running your meetings digitally saves time and also records ideas, votes and action items. No more having to decipher handwriting and retyping notes.