Keeping Retrospective fresh

Today i was attending an interesting webinar about the topic "Keeping Retrospective fresh", here my notes.

Why do we retrospect?

First of all it's clear we make retrospectives not because the Scrum guide says we should, but because we want to understand and improve performance!


Warning signs of ineffective retrospectives & root causes

Because doing things is not the same as getting things done

Warning signs

  • Are things getting done?

  • Lack of ownership

  • Repeated root cause

Root causes

  • Same facilitator for multiple teams

  • Overuse the same questions/framework


Refresh the Retrospective, suggestions

Vary the length / repetition

  • Not each sprint isn't evil, every 2 sprints could give the time to make things done

  • But not too rarely

Vary the goal

  • Sprint retrospective

  • Project retrospective

  • Specific topic retrospective

Vary the framework (examples)

  • Speed boat

  • 4 box

  • Going well retro

  • Start your day

  • Backpacking

  • Futurespective

Vary the environment

  • Outdoors

  • Lunch 

  • Offsite

Vary the facilitator

  • External SM, from another team

  • One team member on rotation (facilitator has different duties than a team member during retros)


Retrospective for distributed teams

  • Find a common time zone, vary inside to avoid penalising always the same guy

  • Use online tools

  • Give Introverts a chance

  • Video conference, try to enhance communication, make more personal as possible

  • Do exercises, start with your goal/excercise and then find the right tool, don’t start with the tool

  • Vary

    • Vary the exercises

    • Vary environment / conditions

    • Vary the goal


And some questions sometimes we should ask ourself and the team

How frequently do you hold retrospectives?

  • On regular scheduled time <= 1month

  • Once a quarter

  • Regularly scheduled, but get canceled

  • Sometimes > quarter

  • Never

How effective are your retrospectives?

  • Extremely effective – always high impact

  • Somewhat effective – often beneficial

  • Hit or miss

  • Somewhat ineffective

  • Extremely ineffective – a waste of time

  • Can’t remember