How can improve Retrospective and Planning meetings?

Last post 04:12 pm November 18, 2012
by Sebastian Radics
11 replies
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02:11 pm August 15, 2012

Sometimes I feel that the team is bored with retrospective and planning meetings. How can we improve these meetings? And how can we keep these meetings interesting and useful?

07:28 am August 16, 2012

It should be more interactive session rather than just one person reading down the points from each team. We should brain-storm on the improvements and things which puzzles and note down the action items. During next Retro we should revise all the open items from last retro. In this way, everyone will realise that we are paying attention to the suggestions and things which are beiing highlighted during this call.

I hope it will improve thier involvement.

09:45 am August 16, 2012

I just wrote a short blog post yesterday about how to "upgrade" your Sprint Retrospective meetings.

Basically, I just linked about 15 of the more popular activities and exercises a Scrum Team can do during a Sprint Retrospective meeting. Some of them can be used during the other events as well.

http://blog.accentient.com/2012/08/14/UpgradeYourSprintRetrospectiveMee…

07:03 am August 17, 2012

Thank you Richard for the great summary!

Personally I enjoy occasional special activities, but only use them for solving special problems or to increase trust between participants. Honest and open discussions and feedback should usually do, and each person should add the meeting's value by her own participation, not expecting to be "entertained" by SM or PO.

Instead of hiding the real communication problems under more entertaining activities, I would first make sure that the facilitator is listening more than talking, and that people openly discuss what's going on. Transparency requires trust and courage.

08:46 am August 18, 2012

Besides what Richard has written on his blog, you also want to bring some food to the meeting. Foods are one of the most effective way to get people to talk during these meetings. :-)

08:57 am August 21, 2012

I do agree with Richard about changing up your retro format. So much so that I wrote an article on that topic a while back:
http://www.scrumcrazy.com/Best+Practice+-+Change+Up+Your+Retrospective+…

I also have a favorite retro format that I feel like works well in a lot contexts:
http://www.scrumcrazy.com/Scrum+Pattern+-+Plus+Delta+Hash%28PDH%29+Retr…

I also agree with Lare that one should be careful about having activities that hide communication problems. In my experience, utilizing one of the retro formats listed on Richard's link actually reveals communication problems rather than hides them.

09:28 am August 21, 2012

As to how to spice up Sprint Planning meetings, that one is a bit tougher in my view. My advice would be to again change up the format, or maybe a better way to say this is, as a Scrum Team member, suggest that the team try a different format. AFAIK, there are not a lot of well documented Sprint Planning Meeting formats. I have one that I have not yet published, and it's very rough or I would give access to it.

One way to find out about different formats is to observe other teams, and then bring the new ideas to your team. I've also found that people are less bored when they are all very involved in the planning session, and when the planning session is as short as possible. You can try pairing people up to task out stories, etc.

Or, alternatively, you can give us a rough view of how your Sprint Planning normally flows and we can give you some ideas for different things to try.

Hope this helps!

12:14 pm September 21, 2012

Thanks a lot!

01:59 pm September 21, 2012

I, too, am a fan of switching up the Retro format. The team likes to evaluate the different formats and we repeat ones that they like. Once they even suggested their own format/game which provided lots of valuable feedback. I don't think it is a way to entertain them but a way to take a repetitive event and make interesting...and also retain its value. I think all the ones on Richard's blog are good to try.

02:20 pm September 21, 2012

Giovanai,

You are most welcome. Try to come back and tell us how it goes! :-)

04:08 pm November 18, 2012

Some ideas how to energize your restrospectives: [BR]
[LIST]
[*] vary your ways in the moderation. Use card walls or the floor, sticky notes or task cards
[*] use post cards as an opener
[*] Introduce your team's happieness index
[*] Show the importance of team work by some games -Play the NASA space game with your team - to show that the team is more than an individual; Play the Sin-Obelisk - to show the importance of moderation and teamwork
[/LIST]

[br] [br]More details on this are described on: [BR] [URL]http://yascrum.blogspot.de/2012/11/evolving-retrospectives-variations-t…] [BR] [BR] How we do the retrospectives - maybe this already contains some other elements you use currently: [BR] [URL]http://yascrum.blogspot.de/2012/11/evolving-retrospectives-inspect-adap…]

04:12 pm November 18, 2012

Some ideas how to energize your restrospectives:

* vary your ways in the moderation. Use card walls or the floor, sticky notes or task cards
* use post cards as an opener
* Introduce your team's happieness index
* Show the importance of team work by some games -Play the NASA space game with your team - to show that the team is more than an individual; Play the Sin-Obelisk - to show the importance of moderation and teamwork

More details on this are described on:
http://yascrum.blogspot.de/2012/11/evolving-retrospectives-variations-t…

How we do the retrospectives - maybe this already contains some other elements you use currently:
http://yascrum.blogspot.de/2012/11/evolving-retrospectives-inspect-adap…