9 things I try to keep in mind when choosing actions in the retrospective

A while back, I wrote down a list of pointers to consider when picking which actions to go ahead with in a retrospective.

It went a bit like this:

  1. Remember that not every problem needs solving right now. Focus on the ones that do.
  2. Ask the “5 Whys” to find the root cause of the problem you are trying to solve. Just tackling the symptoms won’t help much.
  3. You can’t “decide” what the solution to a problem is. Pick an action and decide how you know whether it worked or not. Then try it and see what happens.
  4. Don’t wait for the perfect solution to come along. Small, incremental changes are easier and will make a big difference if you keep making them every sprint.
  5. Limit the number of changes that happen at once. Otherwise, it will be hard to know what had a positive impact and what didn’t.
  6. Make the actions clear and actionable. “Communicate better” isn’t an action!
  7. Look for the simple (but not necessarily easy) solutions. Adding additional layers of process is rarely the best idea.
  8. It’s the team, not the Scrum Master who choose what changes they want to make. And make sure there is sufficient buy-in from everyone on the team.
  9. Pick actions within the team’s control but don’t shy away from outside problems. An action could well be to talk to someone who can make the change happen.

Thanks for reading! In your experience, what else that should be on a list like this? I’d love to hear your opinions!

This story first appeared on my personal blog but Medium is where I will be posting from now on.