Ben Linders - Retrospecting your Retrospectives

ben-linders

Are your retrospective meetings not helping teams to improve? Same actions coming up every retro? People skip the retro, or find them boring? A lack of energy in the room? Chit-chatting in stead of discussing real issues? No need for that, let's retrospect your retrospectives!

This session provides you with ideas to debug your agile retrospectives to find out why they aren't working and learn how to spice them up and bring the energy back in the team.

In this mini-workshop, you will experience how to use retrospective exercises to debug your retrospective meetings. People will work in teams to reflect how their retrospectives are going and will learn what they can do to make them valuable again.

It's a highly interactive session, learning by doing. I'll bring in my experience from 20 years of doing agile retrospectives, and will set a culture where people will share their ideas and learn.

Agile retrospectives should help teams to reflect at the end of each iteration to learn and decide what to improve and take action in the next iteration. Valuable Agile Retrospectives provide the solution for a successful agile adoption at all levels in the organization. They help teams to reflect and learn how to apply agile practices effectively, and support managers with ideas to set conditions for their teams to grow and deliver more value.

But sometimes retrospectives don't live up their expectation. Problems that can happen are:

  • The same questions (what went well, what to improve) are being asked
  • Similar actions keep coming up in every retrospective
  • Nothing happens after the meeting, actions are not done
  • People are postponing or skipping the retrospective meeting
  • Team members complain that retrospectives are boring and a waste of time
  • There's a lack of energy in the room during the meeting, people are not engaged
  • People don't feel safe to speak up and share their view
  • Discussions in the retrospective are not about the real problems (elephant in the room)
  • The retrospective facilitator is leading people towards a pre-defined answer/solution

In this session, teams will be doing 5 different exercises. In a time slot of two hours, teams rotate to do 2-3 of them.

Intended audience: Scrum masters, agile coaches, tech leads, developers, testers, operations, and anyone who facilitates retrospectives.

This session includes ideas published in my book Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives (https://www.benlinders.com/getting-value-out-of-agile-retrospectives/), practices from the Retrospective Exercises Toolbox (https://www.benlinders.com/exercises/), and agile coaching tools available in my webshop (https://www.benlinders.com/shop/). It's partly based on things that I teach in one of my workshops: https://www.benlinders.com/workshop-increasing-organizational-agility-with-retrospectives/.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn to use exercises to reflect on your current practice of retrospectives
  • See how to create a safe and productive environment to run retrospectives
  • Practice effective skills for facilitating retrospectives and getting people engaged