I am the agile PM for a small team that augments an application team. Our team assist towards reliability, scalability of the micro services the application team is building. The team lead and I, have known each other for almost a year. At the time of writing this post, we have been on the same team for about four weeks and work very well together. Suddenly, last week we ran into a couple issues and misunderstandings. This triggered the idea to have our own one-on-one retro.
To us this was a bigger epiphany than you might think. We are both very transparent and direct. We speak daily and say it as it is. We participate in the weekly team retrospectives, which are excellent, safe and productive. What made the retro so valuable for us was the use of a fixed template to help us guide the conversation and make us think beyond our recent up and downs.
We used a very simple template:
- PM told the TL what TL does well, the PM appreciates and helps support the team
- TL shared what he thinks the PM does well
We created a positive mood and confirmed what we thought we did well. There were a few surprises which were food for thought.
- PM mentioned where the PM himself could improve
- The TL did the same
By sharing our perspective on how we could improve we made it easier to provide constructive criticism on each other. We had both been open and said we had room to grow — saying is a lot stronger than knowing. We also covered several of the comments we would have made on each other.
- TL listed what he thought were the main impediments coming from the PM
- The PM went over the opportunities for the TL to improve
Some items were trivial. Just a matter of awareness or very simple action items. We had only one challenge we decided need some further thought. To finish the session we did a final round:
- PM enumerated what he thought were his strong points
- The TL shared his
Overall we were not sure how beneficial this final round was and seemed a little repetitive, although it did provide us with the opportunity to convey our thoughts a final time. As with all templates some sections may change over time.
We did this within thirty minutes. We created awareness, removed annoyances and created actual action items. Retrospectives are not for teams alone.
Jonathan Orgel is an Agile Coach and Project Manager at Disney Streaming Services . He is passionate about agile and enjoys experimenting to find better approaches towards improved results.