Thursday, September 27, 2018

The retrospective as a fountain of shared knowledge | Supreme Agile

The retrospective meeting is one of the most important meetings in the scrum framework. It allows scrum teams to raise and share any impediments that influence their ability to flourish and improve each sprint. Therefore, the information that the team shares internally is usually extremely valuable because it reveals what holds back the team. This could be a product owner who delivers poor-quality stories, external stakeholders who interfere in team decisions, or a lack of technical skills that does not allow the team to become “cross-functional.” (For more information, see: The agile retrospective meeting, everything you must know.)

The information shared by the team is extremely important for the team. However, this is not all; the retrospective meeting has wider implications that can be relevant to other teams in the organization. One simple way to bridge the different teams is for one person in the organization to attend all sprint retrospectives and act as a coordinator who summarizes the main issues and success stories that apply to all the teams.  If you decide to follow this path, you need to ensure that the following guidelines are applied:

  • This person must be trusted by the team, who will agree to add him or her to the team retrospective.
  • This person should not by any means interfere in the team dynamics throughout the meeting.
  • He or she should be patient enough to participate in multiple retrospectives.
  • They must have the authority to take real action that can promote change
  • They should have the knowledge and experience to separate the important issues that are relevant to all teams and filter out items that are less relevant.

Another alternative that is more scalable is that each scrum master comes to a meeting containing all other SMs of the organization and shares the results of the team retrospective. The biggest advantage here is that we can do a retrospective on retrospectives and prioritize the main impediments that have the most impact on teams, the organization, and the process.

The final option, that each team shares the sprint retrospective report with other teams, is one I don’t recommend using. As you learn over the years, people will not read these reports, and even less will they take action based on them.

Thanks to Tally Helfgott for proofreading :) 

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