10 things to wreck your retrospectives

5 Comments

Minuten Lesezeit

by marc

Januar 8, 2014

Schiffswrack am Strand

The new year has just started, and it’s time for the next steps to rile your teammates. So let’s have a look at one of the activities in Scrum that can be easily sabotaged: the retrospective. Here are ten proofed ways to wreck any retrospective:

  1. Keep the retrospective as short as possible. No need to invest too much time in this meaningless gathering.
  2. Only focus on negative events and ignore any positive things. This is the only valid path to improvement.
  3. Handle a retrospective as any other meeting. Sit around a table and just talk.
  4. Ignore the complexity of the system around you. There is always a cause and effect.
  5. Always use crappy material such as cheap post-its that quickly fall from the walls or old pens that hardly write.
  6. Forgo a facilitator for your retrospectives. It is only a burden and will slow the whole „meeting“ down.
  7. Don’t use any agenda and deliberately ignore the retrospective’s phase model.
  8. Directly start with defining what has to be changed in the next sprint. Everybody already knows what has to be done.
  9. Never check if the defined tasks of the last retrospectives were done or even had the desired effect.
  10. Never bring food to your retrospectives. Hungry participants will do anything to finish a retrospective as fast as possible.

What else could you do? I’m looking forward to your suggestions in the comments.

About the author 

marc

Marc Löffler ist selbständiger Agile Coach, Autor und Keynote-Speaker. Er befasst sich leidenschaftlich mit agilen Managementmethoden. Bevor er mit agilen Methoden in Berührung gekommen ist, hat er als zertifizierter Projektmanager bei Firmen wie Volkswagen, Siemens und EADS gearbeitet. Mit Begeisterung hilft er Unternehmen dabei, agile Werte zu verstehen und zu leben. Er liebt es, neue Einsichten zu generieren, und unterstützt Teams dabei, Probleme aus anderen Blickwinkeln zu betrachten. Seit September 2018 ist er zertifizierter Professional Speaker GSA (SHB) mit der besten Keynote seines Jahrgangs. Im Jahr 2014 erschien sein Buch „Retrospektiven in der Praxis“ beim dpunkt.verlag. Im Jahr 2018 folgte das Buch „Improving Agile Retrospectives“ bei Addison Wesley.

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  1. Fantastic!

    Here´s one more: Don´t do the retrospective on a regular basis, only do it, when demanded by the whole team or when some really big issue arrises, this will help you saving even more time!

  2. – Make sure at least one Resource Manager attends the meeting and has time to talk.
    – As ScrumMaster, you have the best view of what needs to be improved so you are the only other person who needs to talk. Everyone else needs to change so they should be listening.
    – Everybody is really busy closing out final tasks from the last Sprint so be sure they have their laptops so they can work during the lulls in the meeting.
    – Retrospectives are best held in community rooms like the kitchen or cafeteria where everyone can come by and listen in on what is wrong. If such a room is not available, just stand in a hallway.
    – Make sure to document any and all things that are wrong so that the team can improve everything during the next Sprint.

    (I need to stop before I get depressed.)

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