Time out! Let’s find the time to get together and think: “What are we doing? How are we doing it? And why are we doing it this way?”
Life go fast but business even faster. Routines, pressure and datelines make it more complicated, people usually think “there’s no time to improve”.
If you think that being retrospective is not necessary, you’re saying “I don’t have time to think”. Good for you! (Ironic)
When things are working, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done better, faster or even more cost effective.
Here you have some helpful hints that can help you having a successful Retrospective:
1 Retrospective time is sacred: Set a time and date, everybody must be there on time, no excuses. Name your Retrospectives with a catchy name related to “change, achieving, accomplishing or step by step”.
2 The coach must join up participants and create the right environment, to propose and to be creative, no judgements.
2 The right people, the ones who deal every day with the issues. It is not a general meeting.
3 Any new improvement idea must be listened. Even the one that seems less important could end in a great advance. Make a list, could be ten or just one, anyways, make a list, register.
4 Follow up. Yes, it doesn’t matter if you scope to implement an improvement or not, meet every week to keep track of the progress, until you accomplish.
5 The team member who proposes a potential improvement must take ownership. The team member with the suggestion must be able to present it to the team. Assign the development and implementation to the “improvement owner”.
6 The rookies count too. Yes, sometimes when you review processes, the new guy in town could be very helpful. Let’s see what he thinks about how we are doing things.
7 Consents, Accord, Agreement. The team must agree that the improvement will be helpful.
8 Find confluences, don’t forget about other colleagues/areas with the same problems.
9 Don’t be greedy. Like I always say “Improvements must be announced in the news, radio…everywhere”. If you keep it just for you is worthless. Share it with team members, other teams or departments.
10 Find a way/tool to keep track and to follow the process. “ToDo”, “In Progress”, “Held” and “Done” are needed. It is also recommended to have a “Rejected” status. I simple form, notebook” or any “Kamban” tool may be helpful.
I’m from Mallorca Spain, an island in the Mediterranean Sea. When we want important things done, we always say “Poc a Poc”, it means “Little by Little”, that’s how big changes are achieved.
Retrospectives are meant to make you a little bit better every day. It doesn’t matter if you are a clothing company, a hotel, software developer or a retailer, retrospectives are 100% effective, is the key for Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) and one of the most important recipes in the agile culture.
“Be humble, when something fails, be the first one to be reflective”
When something fails, in most organizations we usually try to put the blame on someone else’s, unfortunately this is a very common human behavior. Of course being reflective leaves you in a vulnerable position, happens the same when you show your feelings, only self-confident people is not scared of being exposed as vulnerable.
Why retrospectives? Simple! When you trip and fall, you always look back to see the reason why you fall…To elude failing again.
It is very important for the teams to understand the importance of “personal reflectiveness”, it have to start with individuals and then together as a team. Help team members to defeat the fear of being reflective.
Mistakes are “improvement opportunities” and not “blaming opportunities”. Avoid implementing more bureaucracy, improvements must be aligned with a Lean mentality and supposed to make things easier.
If you bump with a great improvement, leave your ego out of this and make it a team improvement.
Agile Coach at XML Travelgate
“Poc a Poc” (Little by Little)