When performing a task, we don’t usually ask ourselves, “Is there a better way to do this?” A job needs to be done, it’s a thing that we have already done before, so usually we just do it in the same way as always and move on. Retrospective gives us an opportunity to step back and reflect on the way we do things. It lets us evaluate our methods and decide what should we change and how should we go about it, so that our work becomes more efficient with less delays and stoppage. By inspecting and adapting processes, tools, people, and relations we can not only speed up our work but also make it less frustrating, which in turn lets us maintain high engagement and motivation. Teams using the SCRUM methodology hold Retrospective meetings after each sprint.
The Retrospective host should take care of several matters for the meeting to be truly valuable:
- pick the right place
- invite the right people
- establish rules promoting effective communication, e.g. assume good intentions, ensure confidentiality, use “I” in communications
- make sure everyone is heard
- give an opportunity to relieve frustrations
- reference facts, not just opinions
- Those elements will help the Retrospective become an opportunity to share thoughts and get to the root causes of issues.
A Retrospective meeting requires some decision-making. Therefore, we should ensure its proper course. First, we need to gather information and consider our options, so that we can later choose the most important ones and make decisions on improvements. Those elements are included in the meeting scenario proposed by E.Derby and D.Larsen in “Agile Retrospectives – Making Good Teams Great”. The scenario is based on 5 steps. The first step is to set the stage: focus participants’ attention on the subject matter of the meeting. The second step is to gather data that describes the current situation. The third step is to analyse that data and generate insights on root causes of the current situation. The fourth step is to decide what to do in order to make the team’s work more efficient. The fifth and final step is closing – a summary of everything that happened during the meeting. Following these steps ensures that each team member leaves the Retrospective meeting with a clear plan on how to improve things.
It’s also a good idea to use various techniques and seek inspirations to make each meeting fun, engaging and having a positive impact. You can find inspiration in your everyday life. It could be anything: playing a board game, going to the gym, or watching a culinary show. Read our article to learn more about Retrospective and the techniques used at RST Software Masters. We hope the article will give you some ideas on how to create engaging and encouraging team meetings that will lead to valuable solutions streamlining the work of your team members. Good luck!