Iteration Retrospectives are the structured reflective practice to learn and improve based on what has already been done. The purpose of retrospection is to build team commitment and to transfer knowledge to the next iteration and to other teams.
Retrospectives must be done at the end of every iteration. A briefer version, the After Action Review can be done at any time, whenever there is value for the team to stop and learn from what has been done and change while it still helps work.
Usually, the Team Agility Coach is the facilitator for the meeting. A facilitator helps the team stay focused and learn together.
Download: Brochure for After Action Reviews.
Why to do this practice
Retrospectives are a conversation between team members. These parties have different perspectives and agendas. The do not think in the same ways. They bring their own sets of feelings, fears, and needs. And, especially early on, they do not understand the demonstration process.
The job of the facilitator is to help these people successfully talk with each other about the current status of the project and agree on next steps. The facilitator is responsible for helping to realize the goals and objectives of the meeting owner or sponsor.
Facilitation is a skill. Facilitation is activity of helping a team of people to improve their effectiveness, addressing impediments and conflicts, creating a safe environment to identify and address issues as a group, and assisting with decision making processes.
The facilitator’s job is to do things like:
Who does this practice
Here are roles involved in this practice:
What to do
Inputs to retrospectives include:
At the end of each iteration, the whole team conducts a retrospection, facilitated by the Team Agility Coach. The key question is, “If we could do it again, what would we keep doing and what would we improve?”
The approach to facilitation requires
When to do this practice
Planning for facilitation should be done at least a few days before the retrospective.
The iteration retrospective is the opportunity for the team to learn together. Each team member is expected to speak and speaks to the whole team. In this session, everyone should consider themselves to be peers.
The Team Agility Coach is there to help facilitate this conversation but not to lead the session.
Here are important objectives for facilitating a retrospective:
Here are useful notes about facilitating a retrospective:
Challenges to consider
Retrospectives must be safe environments for participants. This is an important part of the facilitator’s job. This will depend on the maturity of the team and whether confidentiality is required in order to discuss a particular issue. In the early stages, it may be that membership should be limited to team members themselves.
Deciding whether or not to involve outsiders in the retrospective, following this rule: Will the additional person contribute to learning among the team and within the organization?
Should the Product Owner come to the retrospective? Yes, if…
As the team gains confidence, it could be that asking other Team Agility Coaches to observe certain retrospectives. This is especially useful to help them carry lessons back to their teams. They get to hear subtleties first hand, ideas not present in written reports. But only if the team feels comfortable with it!
The Iteration Retrospective should result in one to one to three stories for the next iteration reflecting a “vital few” improvements to the process
When to do this practice
Planning for facilitation should be done at least a few days before the iteration.
Facilitation is done both during planning and during the demonstration itself.
Where to do this practice
Facilitation is done in the meeting space.
Here are some of the compelling reasons for this practice: