Maria Matarelli Blogs

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Retrospectives - Dig Deeper


How often do you reflect upon how things are going and when you do, how often do you really analyze how things are working and incorporate specific changes for the future?
Retrospectives. If you don’t get honest, then what’s the point? Retrospectives are an opportunity to reflect on how things have been going and identify changes that can be incorporated moving forward. Taking the time to reflect throughout a project rather than waiting until the very end allows the team to leverage this reflection to make ongoing im…See moreRetrospectives. If you don’t get honest, then what’s the point? Taking the time to reflect throughout a project rather than waiting until the very end allows the team to leverage this reflection to make ongoing improvements. Don’t just go through the motions. Watch the dynamics of your team. Is everyone involved and given an opportunity to contribute? Are you getting to the root of the issues presented or staying on the surface level? Is action being taken?

When setting the stage for discussion, the environment needs to be safe. Getting honest usually starts with someone being brave enough to mention the nitty-gritty topics that others may be hesitant to bring up. Once you dig deep into real topics, others will usually chime in or feel safe contributing honestly as well. Go deeper than surface level discussion. Talk about how to really improve. Here are some ideas for facilitating effective retrospectives.


Level the playing field - Techniques such as silent writing allow for everyone to have a voice. Give everyone post-it notes and a marker and ask them to individually write down their ideas on what went well and ideas for improvement. Then have them put their ideas up on the wall and briefly discuss each item and affinity group similar items together. This ensures everyone has a voice as all ideas are acknowledged from each person. The team can then vote on which items they would like to address first.

Keep the format fresh - Don’t do the same thing every time. The format could get stale and participation levels or interest could drop. Introduce new retrospective approaches and ask questions in different ways to get the team thinking differently and actively engaged.

Follow up & check in - Don’t let the conversation end on the flip chart or whiteboard. Identify specific actionable items and keep them in front of the team throughout the next iteration. Check in and reflect upon how the team did on their last retrospective action items. Carrying forward specific items for the team to focus on is key for continuous improvement. Make these items visible and pick one thing to focus on at a time.

Anyone on the team can make suggestions for improving retrospectives and keeping the format fresh. Find the real areas for improvement and keep the discussions valuable. Select one thing to improve and foster real change one step at a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment