All-teams retrospective

Last post 03:10 pm March 18, 2016
by Timothy Baffa
4 replies
Author
Messages
02:12 pm March 14, 2016

I'm a Scrum Master at a media organization that has 6 scrum teams. At the beginning of each review session, we have a teams-wide retrospective, which is meant to gather feedback on the organization and how it's doing. I've found this to be challenging. Do you have suggestions as to how I can make it a productive session?

08:54 pm March 14, 2016

Are all the attendees Scrum Team members, and do they have a joint focus on developing and releasing an integrated increment of the same product?

07:27 am March 15, 2016

Hi Bryan,

Sounds like a big meeting! What do you do at the meeting? Is it really a retrospective or just a chance for people to air an opinion to some form of management? If your six teams are also working on an integrated product, perhaps you should consider a scaling solution like Nexus, Less or something like that. And if you are not working on an integrated product you could consider not having the meeting at all. Perhaps having a goal to the meeting will make it more productive?

01:24 pm March 15, 2016

All of the attendees are Scrum team members, but of different teams. Think of it as a "Retrospective of Retrospectives".

03:10 pm March 18, 2016

Bryan,

Understood. The question to ask (and should be asked for every meeting/ceremony) is "Is every invited attendee truly required?"

Can your company efficiently conduct a "Retrospective of Retrospectives" across 6 Scrum teams without having every team member in attendance?

I am assuming that this meeting is held after each team's individual retrospective? If so, then everyone on each team has already had an opportunity to contribute to their retrospective. I am just guessing, but I'm willing to wager that most of your RoR attendees don't actively contribute during the meeting. That is a significant waste of team capacity.

Therefore, one suggestion would be to identify 1-2 members per team (possibly rotating this responsibility). Armed with the meeting notes from their team retrospective, and with their team discussions fresh in their mind, they can attend the "Retrospective of Retrospectives" as representatives of their team, fully capable of providing their team's input and insight to the RoR, and taking back to their team any information or feedback shared.

Having a meeting with 6-12 attendees seemed much preferable and manageable than a meeting with 30-54 attendees (assuming each team is 5-9 members in size).