The Agile Retrospective is a regularly schedule event for the team to inspect & adapt their processes and their way of working together. It is perhaps the most critical of all Scrum ceremonies and often the most misused or poorly facilitated.
Retrospectives ensure the team has time to reflect, celebrate and improve. Quality Retrospectives enhance team engagement, empower the Team to solve process related issues and improve overall performance.
At the end of every Sprint and before Sprint Planning. It is recommended that 60 to 90 minutes be used for quality Retrospectives. Having at least 60 minutes for the team to reflect is critical.
The Team should know the outcomes of the most recent action items from the previous Retrospectives, the outcomes from the current Sprint and think about items to celebrate or improve.
Since Retrospectives require the Team to reflect and ask difficult questions, it’s critical that formats are changed often to ensure the process does not become stale. The facilitator should prepare a new facilitation-techniques and ask different questions on a regular basis.
The best way to execute a Retrospective is widely debated. However, most seasoned Agilists agree that at least one action item (preferably a S.M.A.R.T. Goal) is agreed on by the team and tracked in the upcoming Sprint. How teams get there, is what is up for debate.
This was popularized by The Agile Retrospective book (Derby, Larsen) and is the most highly recommended method. If your Retrospectives aren’t productive or improvements have slowed, this may be a good approach.
Quickly review the guardrails and have everyone greet each other. Often asking for a short one-to-five-word check in. This is also a great time to review metrics and celebrate outcomes.
Get feedback and input from the Team. Brainstorm ideas of what went well and what needs to be improved.
Ask, “Why”? Gain agreement and prioritize items from step 2.
This is the most critical stage and the Team needs to agree on one or two improvement items, how those items will be measured and when the measurements should be reviewed. The S.M.A.R.T. goals are created here.
Close strong and retro the retrospective.