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Stop Recurring Problems in Retrospectives. How?

April 3, 2023

"We are always talking about the same thing"
"Quality... again?"
"Better communication... didn't we have this last Retrospective?"

I see lots of teams being in the circle of same topic every Retrospective.
What helps in this situation where you get recurring problems every Retrospective, is to Define Acceptance Criteria for your Problems.


That means, with some coaching questions you might be able to get a better and clear picture of the problem, and second, how do we learn that it is gone.


What you might ask and note down for the problem:

  • How do we know the problem has gone?
  • What effect do we see if the problem is gone?
  • Which metric would show us that the problem is away?
  • What would be a better state to be in?
  • What is the next target condition?

and then:

  • What is the minimal experiment we run to get as closer to a better state?
  • Ask for 15% solutions.
  • What is an action we can take that bring us close to the target condition?
  • What experiment is safe enough to try?

I hope this helps!
Let me know in the comments!


By the way:

A great visualization of this approach and thinking model is the Toyota Kata for this:

  1. Identify a Direction of Challenge
  2. Grasp the Current Condition
  3. Establish your Next Target Condition
  4. Conduct Experiments to get there



Please buy the book “Toyota Kata” to support this great thinking tool from Mike Rother.



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