In Retro: 4 Quick Tips to Improve to Your Sprint Retrospective

In Retro: 4 Quick Tips to Improve to Your Sprint Retrospective

A sprint retrospective meeting is held just after a sprint closes but before planning begins for the next sprint. To keep your project moving, plan one hour of retrospective for every two weeks of sprint time. The purpose of this meeting is to identify the parts of the sprint process that work, the parts of the process that don’t work and what changes to adopt to improve the process. Without care these meetings can quickly become ineffective and even harmful to your team’s productivity. 

Here are 4 tips to keep your team positively and productively engaged.

1 | Change it up.

The team is meeting to identify recurring themes, issues or patterns that need to be addressed to improve the team’s performance, and for that, they need to be engaged. If people hear or do the same thing meeting after meeting they become disengaged from the task at hand. Watch for the signs. Look around the room. Are people spending more time looking at their phones or are their eyes glazed over? These are signs you need to change up your meeting tactics. 

Some suggestions:

  • Start the meeting with a vote on whether or not something worked.

  • Ask a single question and go around the room giving each person time to answer. Discussion follows only after everyone has answered the question.

  • Have the team take notes on process issues during the sprint. Put those issues on cards and sort them during the meeting.

2 | Celebrate the successes. 

Just like you spend time showing off what was developed during the last sprint, spend time acknowledging actions that improved how the team worked together. The retrospective is not about what the team created in the last sprint, but how the team achieved it. This kind of acknowledgement gives the team positive momentum, inspiring them to improve even more and make discussion of things that did not work, or that need improvement, more constructive.

Related Post: 8 Tips for a Better Daily Scrum

3 |  Keep emotions in check.  

Support only positive thinking and constructive attitudes and most important keep the discussion at the team level. Avoid singling out individuals that might be struggling, rather focus on the process that might be contributing to an individual’s struggle. Putting the spotlight on a failing process allows people to be more open and honest when talking about their struggles and sets the stage for more constructive feedback on improvements that benefit everyone.

Related Post: Who’s Playing? A Brief Guide To The Roles of Agile Scrum

4 | Implement changes. 

Nothing says you don’t care like ignoring suggestions for improvement, but don’t get carried away. Only change 2-3 things at a time so as not to overwhelm the team and derail sprint productivity. Have the team prioritize all changes and select the 2-3 changes to implement in the next sprint to ensure everyone is on board.  Make this an action-oriented meeting and assign ownership to ensure changes are implemented and reviewed with the sprint. 

Related Post: 5 Things To Consider When Developing a Sprint Backlog


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