Agile Retrospectives

Making Good Teams Great

Esther Derby, Diana Larsen

Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2006, 155 pages

ISBN: 0-9776166-4-9

Keywords: Operations

Last modified: Oct. 27, 2022, 10:43 p.m.

Project retrospectives help your teams examine what went right — and what went wrong — on a project. Traditionally, though, retrospectives (also known as postmortems) are held only at the end of the project, too late to help. You need agile retrospectives that are iterative and incremental. You need to accurately find and fix problems to help the team — today.

This book will help you uncover and solve hidden — and not-so-hidden — problems with your technologies, your methodology, and those difficult "people issues" on your team. You'll see how to mine the experience of your software development team continually throughout the life of the project.

You'll be able to fix the problems you and your team face every day.

You'll discover how to construct retrospectives in general, how to design them specifically for your team and organization, how to make them run effectively, how to make any necessary changes, and how to scale these techniques. You'll learn how to deal with problems, and implement solutions effectively throughout the project — not just at the end.

This book will help you:

  • Design and run effective project retrospectives
  • Find and fix problems
  • Address people issues as well as technological problems
  • Find and reinforce team strengths
  • Use tools and recipes proven in the real world
  1. Helping Your Team Inspect and Adapt
    1. Set the Stage
    2. Gather Data
    3. Generate Insights
    4. Decide What to Do
    5. Close the Retrospective
  2. A Retrospective Custom-Fit to Your Team
    1. Learning About the History and Environment
    2. Shaping the Goal for the Retrospective
    3. Determining Duration
    4. Structuring a Retrospective
    5. Selecting Activities
  3. Leading Retrospectives
    1. Managing Activities
    2. Managing Group Dynamics
    3. Managing Time
    4. Managing You
    5. Taking Your Skills to the Next Level
  4. Activities to Set the Stage
    1. Activity: Check-In
    1. Activity: Focus On/Focus Off
    1. Activity: ESVP
    1. Activity: Working Agreements
  5. Activities to Gather Data
    1. Activity: Timeline
    2. Activity: Triple Nickels
    3. Activity: Color Code Dots
    4. Activity: Mad Sad Glad
    5. Activity: Locate Strengths
    6. Activity: Satisfaction Histogram
    7. Activity: Team Radar
    8. Activity: Like to Like
  6. Activities to Generate Insights
    1. Activity: Brainstorming/Filtering
    2. Activity: Force Field Analysis
    3. Activity: Five Whys
    4. Activity: Fishbone
    5. Activity: Patterns and Shifts
    6. Activity: Prioritize with Dots
    7. Activity: Report Out with Synthesis
    8. Activity: Identify Themes
    9. Activity: Learning Matrix
  7. Activities to Decide What to Do
    1. Activity: Retrospective Planning Game
    2. Activity: SMART Goals
    3. Activity: Circle of Questions
    4. Activity: Short Subjects
  8. Activities to Close the Retrospective
    1. Activity: +/Delta
    2. Activity: Appreciations
    3. Activity: Temperature Reading
    4. Activity: Helped, Hindered, Hypothesis
    5. Activity: Return on Time Invested (ROTI)
  9. Releases and Project Retrospectives
    1. Preparing for Release and Project Retrospectives
    2. Including Cross-Organizational Perspectives
    3. Leading Release and Project Retrospectives
    4. A Retrospective at Every Ending
  10. Make It So
    1. Provide Support
    2. Share Responsibility for Making Changes
    3. Supporting Larger Changes
  • A1. Facilitation Support
  • A2. Debriefing Activities
  • A3. Activities Quick Reference Matrix
  • A4. Resources for Learning Facilitation Skills


Agile Retrospectives

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

OK ***** (5 out of 10)

Last modified: Nov. 23, 2022, 1:08 a.m.

Funny thing, this is more a book that can be seen as a handbook on how to conduct Workshops, but I expect that it can re-used to do retrospectives for the Agile community.

Truth to be told, this is a common theme in this community, they believe that no-one will detect that they are using old stuff or re-inventing the stuff, as long as they re-brand it.

That said, for a Workshop guide, it is OK.


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