Agile Technique Brief – Retrospectives


Quick Summary
Screenshot Retrospectives are a technique that teams can use to inspect their progress in a project to date and identify opportunities for improvement in their processes, team dynamics, and decision-making as well as areas for continued excellence.


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What this is

Retrospectives are a technique that teams can use to inspect their progress in a project to date and identify opportunities for improvement in their processes, team dynamics, and decision-making as well as areas for continued excellence.


Why it's useful

The retrospective approach, especially when held in the middle of a project, helps the team to take a look backward to move forward. When done correctly, it provides a structure for a conversation that provides a safe environment for the project team to focus on what they could improve in future efforts. Retrospectives held during projects help the team correct course and learn from their experiences to be more effective in the remainder of the project.


How to use it

Retrospectives can vary in their duration and complexity based on their frequency and the length of time over which they are meant to cover. The instructions below assume the team is doing a retrospective following each iteration.
  • Immediately following the end of an iteration, gather the team together and indicate the purpose is to spend a little bit of time reflecting on the iteration to identify successes and opportunities for improvement.
  • On a white board or separate sheets of flip chart paper, write the four retrospective questions.
  • Starting with one of the four questions, ask the team for their thoughts on the iterations as framed by the four questions. This is the brainstorming portion of the exercise, so do not comment, or allow others to comment—just record.
  • Once you have collected the team for responses to all four questions, discuss the results with the team, focusing on what actions the team may want to perform in their next iteration to address some of the items raised.
  • Record the results and the identified action items to compare at the next retrospective.

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