Recently I had the opportunity to run the latest release retrospectives for both our UK based team and was also fortunate enough to be flown to Spain to run it for our teams there. I had run a number of sprint retrospectives before which was something I had enjoyed doing and found very rewarding. I had found the key to them was to allow the team to air the grievances that they had but to try and always end with some positives and a set of goals we were going to focus on achieving during the next sprint.
I had a bit of free thinking time so I thought I would just note down and summarise here a few key points I have learnt or would focus on utilising after reviewing my own performance, a release retrospective retrospective you might say.
- A day s a short period of time. It will disappear quickly so timeboxing and keeping things moving are very important.
- Short team based activities work best as they keep people focussed for short intensive bursts and this also should allow everyone to voice their opinions.
- Make the aim of the retrospective to be new stories and tasks for your process improvement backlog.
- Make sure the last thing you do is sign up to at least one of these stories.
- Start the day with generalised problems and refine them down to good solutions and actions by the end of the day.
- Don’t worry too much about something important being missed out. The team will naturally filter down to their most important issues and solutions throughout the day.
- Allow some time for an open floor discussion.
- Do some preliminary data gathering for the retrospective. This will allow you to gauge what sort of issues need to be surfaced and what questions you need to ask.
- Enjoy it. Not everyone will b pleased by some of the discussions, suggestions or output, but you should aim to enjoy it as much as possible, which I found helped others open up and enjoy it more too.