Challenging Sprint Retrospectives

An essential question in the use of Scrum seems to be “How can we make our Retrospectives more fun?“.

i-wonderIt makes me wonder. It makes me wonder about the value of engagement, human energy and bottom-up inspiration. It makes me wonder because Done Increments are at the heart of the empiricism and the agility of Scrum.

If Scrum was to be reduced to one purpose, and one purpose only, that is the creation of a Done Increment in a Sprint.

So few teams are able to actually deliver releasable versions of product, Sprint after Sprint after Sprint. And certainly when delivering product with multiple teams.

Understanding that Scrum Masters are all about helping teams and organizations understanding and enacting Scrum, following might be a great way to start your next Sprint Retrospectives:

  • Scrum Master: “Have we delivered a Done, releasable version of product this Sprint?”
  • Team: “No.”
  • Scrum Master: “What can we do about that?”

How is that to kick off a professionally challenging and fun Sprint Retrospective? How is that to initiate a deep reflection on improvements that will help teams and the organization get more out of employing Scrum? How is that as a start for some fun experiments in the next Sprint?

Committed, connected and engaged people might consider:

  • Increased effectiveness through collaboration, autonomy & self-organization
  • Skills & knowledge sharing (training, communities)
  • Engineering practices & standards
  • Infrastructure, tooling & automation
  • Quality standards & guidelines
  • Removal of Impediments
  • Elimination of low value (requirements, projects)

I wish you fierce, focused and purposeful Sprint Retrospectives. It’ll be seriously fun. Fun and purpose go hand in hand.

2 thoughts on “Challenging Sprint Retrospectives

  1. Frederik Vannieuwenhuyse

    Reblogged this on Technology Unplugged. and commented:
    For the readers: A reference for organising retrospectives is the book “Agile Retrospective”,by Esther Derby & Diana Larsen. They describe the main steps of an agile retrospective.

    The prime directive of retrospectives has been formulated by Norman Kerth in his book “Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews”.

    You can find online all kinds and sorts of formats (games) for retrospectives; I’ve found back a description of a ‘base’ agile retrospective (http://agileforall.com/the-real-baseline-agile-retrospective-format/ ), and I’d like to recommend this to anyone. It focuses on what went well, what could better, and next on identifying and committing to action points for improvement. What are your thoughts about retrospective facilitation techniques?

  2. Frederik Vannieuwenhuyse

    For the readers: A reference for organising retrospectives is the book “Agile Retrospective”,by Esther Derby & Diana Larsen. They describe the main steps of an agile retrospective.

    The prime directive of retrospectives has been formulated by Norman Kerth in his book “Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews”.

    You can find online all kinds and sorts of formats (games) for retrospectives; I’ve found back a description of a ‘base’ agile retrospective (http://agileforall.com/the-real-baseline-agile-retrospective-format/ ), and I’d like to recommend this to anyone. It focuses on what went well, what could better, and next on identifying and committing to action points for improvement. What are your thoughts a about retrospective facilitation techniques?

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