Why do we retrospect?
There is always room for improvement. Whether you work with the latest and greatest technology, develop a new consumer product, are rolling out new processes or are working with community leaders on a social project; retrospectives are a great opportunities to celebrate what is good, identify what could be changed and/or improved.
I use retrospectives to improve upon my personal and professional skills. Today during World Retrospective Day, Agile practitioners and enthusiasts get together to promote and encourage the adoption of agile practices and increase the adaptation of retrospectives for the continuous improvement of people, processes, products and technologies by sharing experiences, new ideas and insights worldwide.
What is a Retrospective?
Retrospectives are sessions where teams collectively gather insights, provide feedback, share feelings, and agree on opportunities for change, drive actions that may lead to people’s growth, product’s success, process optimization and technology innovation improvements.
6 steps for a successful Retrospective
To improve the chances for success always identify a facilitator, schedule in advance (at least 1 hour) and even prepare a high level agenda for the event. If there is a specific issue that needs attention you may want to give your audience a heads up to come prepared to discuss specifics on the topic selected.
SET THE STAGE
A retrospective session is most effective when everyone on the team respectfully, openly and honestly share what went well, and also what didn’t. It is best to set the stage on a positive note with some games, icebreakers, acknowledgements, etc.
Use creativity with games and activities to actively capture as much information as possible, focusing on the cycle that just ended.
Issues, Opportunities and Successes are identified. This step is all about identifying patterns, enablers, recurring issues, common themes, etc.
DECIDE WHAT TO DO
Instead of trying to engage in a complete overhaul, it’s better if teams move forward to the next cycle with just a few key focal points in order for them to work better.
The most significant and impactful items discussed should be prioritized with corresponding actions and owners to be added as part of the work commitments for the next cycle.
DOCUMENT AND SHARE
All feedback should be collected and organized for future retrospective events, drive further improvements and/or trigger changes in other supportive organizations and teams.
However you decide to run a retrospective, alone, with your family or at work the most important thing to do is to create the habit of “retrospecting”.