Members Participating in Retrospective

Last post 07:10 am April 29, 2022
by Ramanan Iyer
5 replies
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04:59 am April 28, 2022

I just joined a new scrum team as scrum master, and have been shadowing along the old scrum master before he leaves

I noticed that during the sprint retrospective the old scrum master had an excel sheet with a row for each team member and some preset questions, for each member to go down the line and answer the questions one by one in an orderly fashion, as the team gave answers the scrum master filled in their answers into the excel

I feel like this doesn't really add much value and resulted in a 1 hour retrospective meeting with an excel filled out, for it to be later shared via email. No follow up actions were taken, and the answers weren't really about the team, but more about performance 

Any thoughts on how to improve this before I take over as the scrum master?

05:29 am April 28, 2022

A Scrum Master manages people's understanding of Scrum. Do the team currently recognize the need for actionable improvements at all?

11:44 am April 28, 2022

I would start with fundamentals:

Does the team understand that the purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to improve how the team works? It has its roots in Deming's 14 Principles (education and self-improvement) and Lean (hansei and kaizen), which found their way into the Manifesto for Agile Software Development in the principle that teams regularly reflect, tune, and adjust their behavior.

Does the team understand the value of continuous improvement? There are many ways to approach the value of continuous improvement. One aspect is about maintaining a business competitive advantage. Another approach could be about improving the standard of working for the people on the team. Others may be more customer-centric. The approaches used to define the value of continuous improvement depend on the culture of the team and organization and different audiences may have different perspectives on the value of continuous improvement.

Once the team understands the fundamentals of continuous improvement and how the Sprint Retrospective is one aspect of enabling a culture of continuous improvement, I would get their thoughts on if they believe the current way of carrying out Sprint Retrospectives is the best way to improve as a team. Maybe the team will have ideas about how to improve. Hopefully, though, they will recognize that the intent of the event and the underlying principles and values of lean and agile are not being met, so even if they don't have solutions on their own, they will see the need to change and ask you to help guide them on a better path.

04:49 pm April 28, 2022

@Juan CruzI noticed that during the sprint retrospective the old scrum master had an excel sheet with a row for each team member and some preset questions | my concern is preset questions and round table of collecting answers.   I am hearing a line manager reviewing individual performance. Like the previous responses, Developers need to understand the purpose of the Sprint Retrospective and get ready to implement team improvements in succeeding sprints.

04:52 am April 29, 2022

Thanks for the feedback on this, it does seem like an old line managers way of doing things. As a result, there is not actionable improvements, and no mindset improve as a team. Seems that the team does the retrospective to check the box only, but doesn't use it to get anything out of it.

 

Hope I can change things around for this team, appreciate the feedback

07:10 am April 29, 2022

Just finished our Sprint Retrospective some time back, we use a plugin with Azure Devops for this but I would like to mention how we did it

Think
- All participants are free to mention "What went well", "What didn't go well" and "What can be improved".

Group
- The inputs from all the participants are grouped together.

Vote
- Each participant is allowed to vote on the collected inputs.

Discuss
- Finally all the inputs are discussed collectively and action items created if required.