Spice Up Your Retros

First let’s define a Retro (thanks Scrum.org):

The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Scrum Team to inspect itself and create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next Sprint.

The team discuss:

  • What went well
  • Needed improvements
  • Commitments to improve for the next sprint

Retrospectives seem to be the first thing dropped when going through an Agile cycle. Is this because they become boring? there’s a tough crowd? too new? too rushed? can’t be bothered? Who knows!

But it’s ironic, as the agile mindset is all about adapt and inspect. This is what we do with our products, so take the care of your teams and do the same.

Let’s remind ourselves of the core values and principles that cover just this:

‘Responding to change over following a plan’ (*)(V)

‘Having the team reflect at regular intervals on how to become more effective, then tuning and adjusting behavior accordingly.’ (P)

‘Continually seeking excellence.’ (P)

‘Harnessing change for a competitive advantage.’ (P)

So whether you’re new to scrum or a veteran keep your Retro life alive! So newbie Scrum Masters, take advantage of the fact you are fresh out the box, energised and excited about bringing great ideas! And veterans Scrum Masters, if you’ve gone all stale and bored of the same old response, not embracing change, skipping 1 or 2 (or not doing them at all!) then today’s the day to ‘become more effective, fine tune and adjust behavior accordingly.’

To make this a little easiers, here are a couple of ideas for you to implement in your next retro … and yes, that is at the end of your sprint, whether that’s in 1hr, 24, 48…

Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Universal game. Works well for remote teams who aren’t camera shy.

Rock = Agree, Paper = neither here nor there, Scissors = totally disagree

“We have the tools we need to do our job…”

Everybody votes, and discusses, statements like this can either lead on from one another, or you can try some or these.

“User Stories are clearly defined so we can crack on with the work in hand …”

“We self organised to meet our common goal…”

Nerds, Birds & Turds

Great for face-to-face.

A card game designed by Ines Garcia, an inspiration to my development as both a Scrum Master and understanding the Agile mindset.

Firstly, there are 4 games in one pack, so you’re already sorted for at least 4 retros.

A picture paints a thousand words, so take it up a level and watch the video at Birds, Nerds & Turds.

Well guys, thanks for reading the first addition of MaykitBlogs. Next week, we’ll be talking about how to ensure the improvement plans are actually adding value.

* For you haters out there, this doesn’t mean the agile methodology doesn’t plan, in fact every iterative cycle (sprint) 1,2,3,4 weeks there is a planning session called ‘sprint planning’. Where the work is prioritise by the Product Owner (equivalent to Sponsor) and the team decide what to bring into the sprint AND how to deliver these, allocating task and self-organising.

V – Values

P – Principles

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