Agile The Scrum Diaries

The Scrum Diaries – #6: Improving Our Sprint Retrospectives

The Scrum Diaries

Improving Our Sprint Retrospectives

In previous Scrum Diary entries I’ve written about efforts to help my team understand the value of Scrum events. The team became interested in conducting a Sprint Retrospective. (Read “The Scrum Diaries – #4: Empowerment”.) I’ve been emphasizing our need to have retrospectives on a recurring basis for each sprint. With all of us pulled in so many different directions outside of this particular project, it’s not surprising that two more sprints went by before we had our next Sprint Retrospective. But we did it and we are all continuing to see the benefit of doing so on an ongoing basis.

Spicing It Up

Our first retrospective was fair. We were kind of all over the place. It was clear to me that most of the team still have limited understandings of Agile principles and Scrum particulars. So, I did more research about facilitating effective retrospectives. I specifically wanted to find suggestions for how to help the team discussion center around Agile principles.

I found this exact help in the blog post, THE TROJAN RETROSPECTIVE – FROM CRICKETS TO CONVERSATIONS!, which includes a VERY helpful survey. It includes three sections. One on Agile principles, one on the Scrum framework, and one on Lean software development. I used only the Agile section for my team.

Improved Discussions

Since the survey is based on the four Agile values and its twelve supporting principles, it guided our team discussion nicely. We each rated how we felt our team was doing in relation to each of the values and principles. We made comments on each and aggregated them before the retrospective meeting. This helped tie practical work experiences directly to Agile principles.

For example, on the principle of “continuous delivery of valuable software,” there was a consensus that we are struggling with this due to our current DevOps situation. (Read “The Scrum Diaries – #5: Logistics”.) This led to discussion on particulars about how we can continue to transform our DevOps in order to be more agile in reality.

Next Steps

The survey has given us substance for further discussion in upcoming retrospectives. Some of our struggles are nowhere near being resolved. The survey has given us a basis for discussion guided by Agile principles.

I would still like to see the team get into the groove have having retrospectives with each sprint. That is where we need to be.

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(The Scrum Diaries are accounts of my experiences with Scrum teams during an organizational Agile transformation. There have been, and continue to be, many bumps in the road along the way. We are learning and growing together as a team. I am a certified Scrum Master (PSM I) and a developer. I fill both of those roles on my team. These Diaries primarily address topics related to Agile and Scrum.)

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