- The aim of the book is to introduce a structure for retrospectives and to walk the reader through planning, designing and leading a retrospective, with activities and guidance on how to use them
- The book appears to be aimed at people who want to use retrospectives in their organizations, whether these organisations are currently using Agile techniques or not.
- This book sets out a simple framework for conducting retrospectives built around 5 stages (Set the scene; Gather data; Generate insights; Decide what to do; Close), and provides a wide range of example activities for each of these stages, including some that measure the feelings of the team.
- It can be used as a “cook book” to put together a retrospective (I have used it successfully for this), or as inspiration to devise your own activities
- The tone is friendly and conversational, and the book is easy to read.
- Some tips are given on converting the techniques presented to make them suitable for retrospectives on a project phase or an entire project rather than just a single Agile delivery iteration.
Some of my favourite take-aways
Amongst the ideas presented, I found the following favourites:
- Get the team to draw up their own working agreement for the expected behaviour during the retrospective; make them all responsible for monitoring compliance with this and for speaking up in case of breaches.
- Debrief after each activity, and at the end of the retrospective (on the retrospective itself)
- Change the format of each retrospective so that the team members don’t become jaded
- Revisit some of the team diagnostic activities from time to time to see whether / how the team’s feelings have changed.
- Focus on things the team can actually do something about; don’t let a retrospective turn into a group whingeing session.
- I think this an excellent book, well-written, and with plenty of insights
- Despite the title, I found there was nothing whatsoever about the contents that would constrain their application to Agile projects; indeed I have used the advice in the book to carry out multiple retrospectives on a considerably un-Agile construction programme
- At the purchase price of £15 this represents excellent value for money and I strongly recommend it for anyone wanting to brush up on their skills in running project retrospectives.
|Full title:||Agile Retrospectives: Making good teams great|
|Author:||Esther Derby & Diana Larsen|
|Publisher:||Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2006|
If you’re coming to the end of a project and you want to make sure that your organisation learns from its delivery experience but you’re not sure how, then Pragmatic PMO can help. Why not take a look at our “Learn lessons from your project” service, and if that looks interesting, schedule a free 30-minute consultation to discuss how we can help you?