Agile retrospective is all about improving on your previous iteration so that you can build on further success with future iterations. But due to lack of preparation, some teams are unable to fully capitalize on this activity. In this guide, you will identify the ways in which you can maximize the potential of an iteration retrospective so that you can achieve its real purpose.
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What are the techniques to succeed with iteration retrospective?
There are several elements involved in a successful team. Your ability to identify these elements is critical to your success moving forward.
With iteration retrospective, you need to identify the best techniques that will help you obtain the necessary feedback for a successful iteration retrospective. The following techniques are:
The success of the team lies on every individual member of that team. Therefore, everyone must be made accountable to ensure that every member of the team is making progress with their assigned action items. Each individual is given the opportunity to discuss their individual progress and then the group will brainstorm.
Every individual of the team is chosen for their skills and knowledge. But individuals also seek help and support from other members of the team. It is important to show appreciation for those who’ve helped individuals or the team in order to progress.
The team must designate a word or concept that best represents the team iteration. This will help team members to reflect on the real purpose of this activity.
Every individual team member must rate previous iterations from a scale of 1 to 5. The goal is to identify how you can achieve the rating of 5 in the next or future iterations.
The purpose is to simplify the iteration retrospective activity by identifying three crucial elements: 1) What Went Well, 2) What Didn’t, and 3) What Could Have Been Better.
Each of the outlined techniques will aid the team in its quest to seek continuous improvement. This activity will be repeated in the predetermined period of time, which is typically every 2 weeks.
It is important that the iteration is timed in order to provide additional motivation for the team to be engaged.
Why do they fail?
There are several factors that can contribute to the failure of iteration retrospective. Identifying them is crucial to clear out potential obstacles on your path towards success.
The most common reason for failure is lack of preparation. Without proper planning, you have no clear goal as to what you want to achieve and how you plan on doing it. A lack of focus is also a factor that can cause you to fail in your objective. It is critical that every individual team member is engaged in every step of the process. Every member must be actively engaged, not just during the discussion, but also in their assigned action items.
Any defect in data gathering is also a contributor to a failure in achieving the real purpose of iteration perspective. The team must be diligent in gathering and analyzing the data as this is critical in developing a plan of action.
How to make iteration retrospective work
There are several strategies that you can use to ensure a productive and successful iteration perspective. Here are some of the ideas and guidelines that you might want to consider:
- You need to analyze the results of previous iterations. Using this data, you can develop a plan of action for how you can make the necessary improvements and ensure success for present and future iterations.
- Keep your iteration retrospective timeboxed. A typical retrospective activity takes no more than an hour. This will help retain focus from every member of the team.
- Identify one or two things that you want to get better at. This will make it easier for every member to keep track and focus. The goal is to limit backlogs by completing one small goal at a time. It also helps to keep each retrospective activity targeted.
- Give everyone the opportunity to speak. This not only keeps the team members engaged, but also makes them accountable for each assigned action. It also boosts team morale as each member feels as though their input and opinion are valued.
- Assign a facilitator. They will be overseeing the discussion to make sure that all important matters are addressed.
- Ask each member of the team about the obstacles that they have identified. Seek their opinion about their recommended solutions for each obstacle. Make sure you get everyone’s input in terms of identifying practical solutions to achieve the desired outcome.
- Stress the essential things that must be discussed during the retrospective activity. Emphasize the need to present data so that the team has something concrete to work on when coming up with new ideas and a plan of action.
- Identify work that has been completed. This will give the team enough time to focus on what still needs to be done.
- Focus on small and continuous improvements. This will make the real purpose of this activity easy to achieve.
Important questions to address after iteration retrospective
To help with achieving the real purpose of iteration perspective, you can ask the following questions to help gain insight into what is working and what you are doing wrong. That way, you have data on how you can improve in the future.
- Did we accomplish the iteration goals?
- Is there any other way it could have been done better?
- What formats would be good to use again?
- Are there any obstacles that are impeding our ability to achieve the goals?
- Did we consider the input of every member of the team?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate this iteration?
The secret to success with iteration perspective is having a concrete plan of action. The ability to keep your team focused and engaged towards a common goal is also critical. Make sure all members of the team are involved during iteration perspective in order to get everyone on the same page as you, tackle obstacles, brainstorm ideas, and identify effective solutions.
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