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Valuable Agile Retrospectives - QA&Test 2014 - Ben Linders


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The agile manifesto proposes that a “team reflects on how to become more effective”. Agile retrospectives can be used to inspect and adapt the way of working. But sometimes teams struggle to figure out what an agile retrospective is? And they wonder how they should do them?

Retrospectives help teams to deploy agile practices in an effective way and to continuously learn and improve themselves.

The retrospective facilitator (often the scrum master) should have a toolbox of retrospective techniques, and be able to pick the most effective one.

This presentation explains the “what” and “why” of retrospectives and the business value and benefits that they can bring. You will experience several exercises that you can use to facilitate retrospectives, supported with advice for introducing and improving retrospectives.

Retrospectives are a great way for teams to improve their way of working, to become more agile and lean. Getting actions out of a retrospective that are doable, and getting them done helps teams to learn and improve continuously.

Ben Linders is a Senior Consultant in Agile, Lean, Quality and Process Improvement, based in The Netherlands. Co-author of Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives.

Published in: Software

Valuable Agile Retrospectives - QA&Test 2014 - Ben Linders

  1. 1. 1 Ben Linders Advies Valuable Agile RetrospectivesHow to do them? QA&Test, October 24, 2014 Ben Linders Advies
  2. 2. 2 Ben Linders Advies On the agenda today … •“What” and “why” of Retrospectives •Business Value and Benefits •Retrospective Exercises With agile retrospectives teams drive their own actions! Ben Linders
  3. 3. 3 Ben Linders Advies Agile, Lean, Quality & Continuous Improvement Retrospectives Facilitator, Agile Coach/Mentor CMMI & People-CMM Assessor Freelance Editor on Enterprise Agile for Who is Ben Linders? Co-Author Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives Obteniendo valor de las Retrospectivas ágiles Author: What Drives Quality eBook: Download from InfoQ or Leanpub Print: Buy on Amazon or Lulu
  4. 4. 4 Ben Linders Advies Agile Retrospectives Practice for teams to reflect on their way of working and to continuously become better in what they do. Focus upon •Team •Self steering •Collaboration •Value What is an Agile Retrospectives
  5. 5. 5 Ben Linders Advies Why Retrospectives? To help teams to solve problems and improve themselves! •Increase Value of Agile •Make existing processes more Agile •Becoming Agile and Lean •Less resistance to Change
  6. 6. 6 Ben Linders Advies
  7. 7. 7 Ben Linders Advies Environment for Retrospectives Adopting retrospectives is an organizational change where professionals adapt their way of working, their behavior - It won’t just happen, and if not properly supported it may take much time, or even fail. •Purpose of Retrospectives •Capable Retrospective Facilitators •Do and Evaluate Retrospectives Adopting Agile Retrospectives
  8. 8. 8 Ben Linders Advies Purpose of Retrospectives Help those involved to know why they should do retrospectives •Teams have authority and responsibility on how to do their work •Discuss the need for continuous improvement •Celebrate and reward success •Empasize “why over how” Sustainable Improvement through Agile Retrospectives
  9. 9. 9 Ben Linders Advies Capable Retrospective Facilitators Effective and Efficient Retrospectives: •Vital few improvement actions •Keep the invested time low Facilitation by capable people: •Qualify and Authorize facilitators •Train: Purpose, techniques, skills Agile Improvement •Mentoring & coaching •Share & discuss retrospective experiences
  10. 10. 10 Ben Linders Advies Do and Evaluate Retrospectives •Prepare: Purposes and establishing capable facilitators •Start with retrospectives in your first iteration •Simple technique: asking questions or boat exercise Evaluate the Retrospective, ask: •Is this useful? •Helps to get a shared understanding how things go? •Do the actions make sense? •Does meeting as a team to reflect feel good?
  11. 11. 11 Ben Linders Advies Leading Retrospectives Roles •Facilitator – Servant Leader •Coach – Support Change •Manager – Arrange for Change All roles are needed Play the game Action is in the interaction
  12. 12. 12 Ben Linders Advies Business Value Agile retrospectives help teams learn and improve, and increase their business value to their customers and the company Getting more Business Value: •Expectations •Limit Actions •Follow up on Actions Getting Business Value out of Agile Retrospectives
  13. 13. 13 Ben Linders Advies Expectations for Retrospectives •Collaboration & Teamwork •Development Process •Velocity / Productivity •Product Quality •Costs •Lead Time
  14. 14. 14 Ben Linders Advies Limit the number of Actions •Small Action •Change Frequently •Focus on Value •Stop Starting, Start Stopping •Kanban Short Cycled Improvement
  15. 15. 15 Ben Linders Advies Follow up on Actions •Make them Visible •Check status in the next Retrospective •Mentor & Coach teams on Continuous Improvement Making Quality & Process Improvement Visisble Uncovering Better Ways to do Process Improvement Golden Rules for Agile Process Improvement
  16. 16. 16 Ben Linders Advies Retrospective Benefits •Actions done by the Team •Power to the Team •Changes that Stick
  17. 17. 17 Ben Linders Advies Toolbox of Retrospective Exercises •Teams are different •Needs vary in time •Deliver more value for Teams You can plan a retrospective meeting, and think about the technique that you want to use, but be open to change it on the spot whenever needed. Toolbox of Retrospective Techniques
  18. 18. 18 Ben Linders Advies Retrospective Exercises •Asking questions •One-word retrospective •Root Cause Analysis •Timeline •Flow and Energy •Asking Why? •Strenghts (Solution Focused) •Perfection game •Action priorities •Retrospective of Retrospectives •Teams with multiple customers Book with Agile Retrospective Exercises
  19. 19. 19 Ben Linders Advies Examples The Sprint that failed •Trust and Empowerment •Teamwork The team that wasn’t a team yet •Getting to know each other •Skills & Open Culture
  20. 20. 20 Ben Linders Advies Retrospectives eBook Discount Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives By Luis Gonçalves & Ben Linders Spanish Edition: Obteniendo valor de las Retrospectivas ágiles 40% Discount on the Spanish eBook: ( (
  21. 21. 21 Ben Linders Advies Questions? @BenLinders Ben Linders Advies
  22. 22. 22 Ben Linders Advies ContactContact Ben Linders Independent Consultant Agile, Lean, Quality & Continuous Improvement @BenLinders
  23. 23. 23 Ben Linders Advies Background Information
  24. 24. 24 Ben Linders Advies Prime Directive “Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.”  Norm Kerth Create an Open Culturewhere team member Speak Upwith Respect for each otherto Learn and Improve Soft Skills Matter
  25. 25. 25 Ben Linders Advies Becoming Agile and Lean Ask yourself: •How Agile are you? •Where do you want to becomemore Agile, and why? •What can you do next? Journey to Become Agile and Lean
  26. 26. 26 Ben Linders Advies Assessing yourself •Readiness •Agile / Scrum Practices •Culture & Mindset •Agile Fluency •Roadmaps for Adoption •Maturity Agile Self-Assessment
  27. 27. 27 Ben Linders Advies Agile Process Improvement Expected benefits: •Collaboration PI team and stakeholders •Deploy (over define) processes •Adopt to changes •Incrementaly, ROI •Learn to work Agile Process Improvement: The Agile Way
  28. 28. 28 Ben Linders Advies Golden Rules for PI •Dare to share, Early & frequently •The result depends on team – Not individuals •The one who starts something is not necessarily the one to finish it •The one’s working on a task are the right people •You may critique anything, but never criticize anyone Golden Rules for Agile Process Improvement
  29. 29. 29 Ben Linders Advies Agile using the People CMM Implementing Agile with the People-CMM
  30. 30. 30 Ben Linders Advies Resistance to Agile? •Talk with them •Listen what they have to say •Take them seriously •Ask why and how Resistance = Information! Dealing with Resistance
  31. 31. 31 Ben Linders Advies Articles on Effective Agile •Self-assessing how Agile you are •Sustainable Improvement through Agile Retrospectives •Working in a Sustainable Pace •Becoming Agile and Lean •Succes Factors for Using Scrum and Getting Benefits •Process Improvement: The Agile Way •Golden Rules for Agile Process Improvement •How to deal with Resistance when Implementing Agile •Managing Projects with Agile Teams •Agile Project Management •Establishing and Maintaining Stable Teams •Getting Business Value out of Agile Retrospectives •Sharing Knowledge is Power •Are your Professionals Empowered?