On 27th February, on the World Retrospective day, We set out on an experiment to do a group retrospective with all our three in house development teams. We were almost nearing one year in the agile journey together and very excited about this new evaluation.
Before beginning, We agreed upon a time plan since we always had issues with keeping time in the meetings.
First Stage: Set the stage
CheckIn: Moving on to the first stage, we used the question “ How are you feeling ?”It started with me and I directed the question to one team member. She answered it and passed it on to her neighbor. In that manner, we completed our first round and eventually, the question came back to me as the last person. It was a great way to establish a safe and trusting environment and to switch from the day to day stuff!
Second Stage: Gather data
Repeat & Avoid: Here in this stage, we took time to take a look backward and reevaluate the decisions taken by us in the past and categorize them and congratulate each other for the great decisions we made and at the same time learn from our mistakes.
Stage Three: Generate insights
Lean Coffee: The participants were provided sticky notes and were asked to think about all the possible topics they thought had the potential to be discussed. Upon completion of contemplation and writing, they were given time to paste their sticky notes on the Whiteboard and explain the topic in two or three words. We avoided much discussion at this level.
Stage Four: Decide What to do
Poster Session: In this stage, we used a poster session. We divided ourselves into four groups and each group was given an empty poster and provided with a set of sample questions. They could choose from these questions and look for solutions for one of the topics we created together in stage 3. They were given 20 minutes of preparation time. In the end, each group gave a presentation about their ideas which we took as action points in a common retrospective backlog. Everyone in the group was assigned an action point and a deadline was set till when they have to implement it, thereby sharing the responsibility among us.
Below are some of the sample questions we used:
Stage Five: Close the Retrospective
For closing the retrospective we used “You and Me”. Again we used our colorful sticky notes to make a wish for oneself and one for the team. We heard many beautiful wishes and had to smirk a lot.
We were able to complete the whole session is about 2.5 hours. Last but not, least we took time to thank each other for their cordial participation, time and effort. We also decided to catch up again in three months and have a look at our Impediment backlog together and see where we stay.
We learned together many lessons like timekeeping, letting the other person talk, being there for each other, sharing responsibilities and having fun together.
What I personally like in this format is the well-defined structure which always helps to keep an eye on the time. I use it as a good cookbook with different recipes that you combine depending on your sprint goal, Team, etc.
And here is a link to the great book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/721338.Agile_Retrospectives
Ultimately I would like to thank the editors at https://medium.com/serious-scrum for the motivation and the effort, they took to encourage women Agilists.