TL; DR: Retrospective First Principles
What is your take on the Retrospective: A routine exercise at the end of a Sprint, supported by standard operating procedures? Or a critical part of a Scrum team’s journey of continuous improvement? As you may assume, I advocate for the latter. In my experience, Scrum teams start utilizing Retrospectives to their full potential when they embrace a short set of Retrospective first principles, outlining the essence of the Why, the What, and the How.
For classic nerds: “Molon labe (Ancient Greek: μολὼν λαβέ, romanized: molṑn labé), meaning ‘come and take [them][…]’”
TL; DR: Prisoners of Retrospectives
There are plenty of failure possibilities with Scrum. Given that Scrum is a framework with a reasonable yet short “manual,” this effect should not surprise anyone. What if, for example, not all of your Scrum team’s members feel enthusiastic about the Sprint Retrospective, the critical event when the Scrum team inspects itself? How can you help them become dedicated supporters instead? Join me and delve into how to avoid teammates feeling like prisoners of Retrospectives in less than two minutes.
TL; DR: Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns
What event could better embody Scrum’s principle of empiricism than the Sprint Retrospective? I assume all peers agree that even the simplest form of a Retrospective—if only held regularly—is far more helpful than having a fancy one once in a while, not to mention having none. Moreover, I am convinced there is always room for improvement; just avoid dogmatism. Hence, learn more about 21 common Sprint Retrospective anti-patterns that will hold back your Scrum team.
TL; DR: Should Managers Attend Retrospectives?
There are plenty of failure possibilities with Scrum. Given that Scrum is a framework with a reasonable yet short “manual,” this effect should not surprise anyone. A classic discussion is whether it is appropriate that (line) managers attend the Retrospectives of the Scrum team. Probably, making their attendance a regular habit—or even a requirement—is not a good idea. However, what about managers that occasionally attend a Retrospective? Moreover, what if the (line) manager is also a team member?
Join me and delve into the how and when of managers attending Retrospectives in less than two minutes.
TL; DR: Skipping Retrospectives?
There are plenty of failure possibilities with Scrum. Given that Scrum is a framework with a reasonable yet short “manual,” this effect should not surprise anyone. One area where Scrum’s nature of being intentionally incomplete causes issues regularly is whether Scrum teams shall stick to the event schedule even if the team’s life is uneventful? For example, is skipping Retrospectives okay?
Join me and delve into the consequences of skipping Retrospectives in less than 90 seconds.
TL; DR: Data-Informed Retrospectives
In their book Agile Retrospectives, Esther Derby and Diana Larsen popularized the idea that a Sprint Retrospect comprises five stages. The second stage refers to gathering data so that the Scrum Team can have data-informed Retrospectives.
As I have observed in practice, many Scrum Teams either limit the data gathering part of the Retrospective, thus lacking vital information. Or they invest too much time doing so, leaving little capacity to analyze the data and come to conclusions on how to best improve as a team.
Read on and learn how you can avoid falling victim to both scenarios by gathering data continuously and asynchronously.