Retrospective: Looking back for a better tomorrow

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For a team to go from good to great, it needs to look back and evaluate itself against the decisions it took and figure out how to improve on it as it carries on the development. Sprint retrospective just facilitates that and helps the team to regroup for the next upcoming sprint and get better in the process.

As we are getting matured with Scrum, we find a pattern in our retrospective meeting which matches what Henrik Kniberg says at Scrum and XP from the Trenches. We merged our way of retrospective with Henrik’s way, and found that our retrospective meetings have become a source for motivation for the team, as well as helping the team to improve.

These are the steps we currently follow during our sprint retrospective meeting:

  • What we did good: We start with a positive tone and find out what was good in our last sprint, what issues we implemented from our previous sprint which we thought important for the team. We write down the points on stickies and put them in our board.
  • What could be better: A nice way to find out about the ‘could be better’ ones is to ask the team what they would have done differently if they had the chance to go back to the start day of the sprint using a time machine. We list inputs from all the team members and stack them on the board along the ‘could be better’ column.
  • What is important to implement next sprint: This is where the whole team works together to collect items from the ‘could be better’ column and move them to ‘important’ column. After they are done, we vote on the important items. Each member of the team gets three magnetic buttons and allowed to place on any important items she chooses. She can also choose to put all her votes on a single important item if that one has such importance level.

As I’m involved with multiple teams’ retrospective meeting, one interesting observation I’ve found out that most of our teams have one common ‘important’ issue, which is “Having tech-session between teams.” So, knowledge sharing within and among the Scrum teams seems to be a common goal for our teams.