October 27, 2014

Temperature Reading Retrospective

I decided to conduct a Temperature Reading Sprint Retrospective after watching the video from one of the workshops of a famous American family therapist Virginia Satir. The concepts and ideas of Virginia are used far beyond the field of family therapy.

Scrum is a lightweight and flexible framework, but it is extremely difficult to master. At the end of the Sprint, the team may experience some fatigue and even stress. It is easy to be tempted to speak only about the negative during Retrospective, accusing each other, negligent managers and organizational culture of the company in all the troubles which fell on our poor heads.

A Temperature Reading Retrospective helps the team to express the whole range of emotions in relation to the previous Sprint and transform them in a constructive way. The task of the Scrum Master is to play the role of a team therapist. We need to listen carefully to each team member, ask clarifying questions, and be a neutral facilitator, relieving tension within the team.

A Temperature retrospective consists of 6 main sections. Display them on a flip chart:

  • Appreciations

  • Excitements

  • Complaints/Recommendations

  • New Info

  • Puzzles

  • Wishes


Appreciations. It’s a good idea to start with positive emotions, so we offer the team a chance to thank each other for the work done during the Sprint. We can distribute Kudo Cards among the team and give them 3-5 minutes for filling them in silence.

After that, we collect the cards and put them into the box. Using the Round Robin format (one by one) ask everyone to pull out the card and to read it aloud. Works until the box will be empty of cards. So we have warmed up, thanked each other. Now you can go to the next temperature emotions.

1357639546KudoCardsframe800 


Excitements. Ask the team to come up with the Sprint moments, which were the most exciting and memorable for them. Starting with this section we use the format of free discussion and the Scrum Master, equipped with an active listening tool, captures team’s thoughts on the stickers.

Complaints / Recommendations. Now we are ready to move to the complaints section. Keep in mind that every complaint should be followed by the specific recommendation on how to remedy the situation. What can we do to ensure that this does not happen again?

New Info. A very important section. Please note that each Sprint is an opportunity to learn something, and software development initially consists of a large number of assumptions. Sprint can be considered a failure only if we miss inspection and adaptation on a number of assumptions:

  • Do the users need this product?

  • Are the technologies chosen move us in a right direction?

  • Would the current team composition achieve the target goals?


Puzzles. This section is closely related to the previous one. Are there any issues we have not closed or riddles, which the team can not answer? Perhaps we are puzzled by something. Are there any questions or elephants in the room that just hang in the air and need to be addressed properly? Give the team some time for reflexing.

Wishes. It is possible that after all the previously passed sections we've got some suggestions and wishes. Write them down as well on the stickers.

Now the collected information is on a flip chart:


temp_reading


Now what? We can utilize multi voting for prioritizing future action items and form a plan of improvements for the next Sprint. Or you can further delve into sections and conduct a root-cause analysis. The choice is yours. I wish you a successful psychotherapy.

If you are looking for new tactics, tips and games for you Scrum, you can find a lot in my FREE LeanPub book "A Scrum Master's Practical Toolbox".