Leading a Retrospective – My first time

So today was the first time I lead the team retrospective. It was a little milestone for me as I’ve not really lead anything like that before. It took quite extensive planning (I believe if your going to do something you should do it properly and be well prepared), this involved me reading The Pragmatic Programmer – Agile Retrospective. It’s a really good read and very inspiring. After reading through the activities I decided what I felt we needed to get out of this retrospective and chose to do some data gathering activities.

Activity One – Satisfaction Histogram
The satisfaction histogram was taken directly from the book. I chose 2 questions:

A. How satisfied are you with the team output?
B. How satisfied are you with team cohesion?

Satisfaction Histogram QuestionsThe idea is to get how people are feeling about team output and to see how well they think we are working together. We can track outcomes and ask again in 2 sprints time and reassess how everyone is feeling.

You ask every one to anonymously rate on a mark of 1-5 how satisfied they on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it in to the middle of the table. I had the questions and satisfaction levels printed out on an A3 sheet stuck to the wall so everyone could see. After all the pieces of paper had been collected I then asked a member of the team to call out the results and put them into the histogram. It helps if you have a pot of brownies for people to snack on while you’re filling in the graph :) Satisfaction Histogram

Activity Two – Retrospective Snap
For activity number two I took my inspiration again from the book and came up with a new data gathering activity “Retrospective Snap”. This was done with a team of 14 whom are usually split into two dev teams.

  • Everybody is sat around in a circle
  • Each person has 6 plan white cards each
  • They write 3 positive points from the sprint and 3 negative points
  • The cards are the mixed up and dealt back out
  • A person will be selected to start and they then place the card down in the middle and say say if it’s positive or negative and read it out, if anyone has the same or similar point they will put their card down and call snap
  • Retrospective Snap Board

  • The positive or negative point will be written on the board with the number of cards in the snap pile and the person who won the snap will get a strike on their “Snap Tab” – Remember to note how many cards were placed down for the point so you can identify the most prevalent points (I forgot do do this and had to remember which points had the most cards snapped against it)
  • If a card is placed and not snapped it is written up and that person gets a point
  • Winner gets some sweeties or something
  • The project manager noted down all of the points and as a team we discussed the most prevalent negatives and what we could do to resolve them.

It’s a really good activity to get everyone involved and helps them to feel comfortable in having their say. It’s also quite fun. :)

If you have any questions drop me an email or if you give it a try let me know how you get on.

S :)

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4 Responses

  1. David Espley Says:

    Sounds like you did a great job – especially as it was your first time

    Posted on August 4th, 2010 at 09:16

  2. Samuel Jack Says:

    Retrospective Snap – I’ll have to remember that one!

    Posted on August 4th, 2010 at 09:39

  3. Rob Says:

    Hey Sara,

    Wow – congrats! Looks like you did an awesome job!
    You should come lead our retrospective one day ;)

    Think I will have to grab a copy of the book and see if I can get some pointers too!

    Nicely done! :)

    Posted on August 5th, 2010 at 08:38

  4. h Says:

    Cool stuff. Wish I could work on an agile team like this. Only place I ever had a chance to do this was when I was still studying at the University. Now, stuck in a job where we work more like code monkeys / cowboys and follow no standards or anything, and its not like I can change others as the team leaders themselves don’t believe in things like automated tests. =/

    I think I will be looking for a better job, if i ever can find one.

    Posted on November 20th, 2010 at 05:53

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