What is a retrospective? A time to reflect on and improve our practices. We have to test our knowledge constantly—using practices like retrospectives. These should be done after each iterative cycle rather than waiting until the end of the project. The quality of learning derived from this practice shows an organization’s true commitment to learning, and therefore, a key to its adaptability. Jim Highsmith Retrospective rituals are more than a review of the past. They also provide a chance to look forward, to plot the next project, and to plan explicitly what will be approached differently next time. Norm Kerth
Why are retrospectives important? We don’t just want to complete a project; we want to learn about completing projects while completing projects. Dave Parnas Learning and development do not necessarily occur as a result of the experience itself but as a result of reflection explicitly designed to foster learning and development. B. Jacoby For many of the team members, this will be the first time they consciously think about the processes they use. Norm Kerth
Why a retrospective? To look at the past Project planning and control involves two kinds of skills: looking backward to understand the past and looking forward to predict the future. We want to believe that learning from experience is automatic, but it requires profound skills. Experience provides data, not knowledge.
Why a retrospective? To plan the future The most positive message we consistently get is that people want to improve themselves but usually they don’t know what to work on. When they get good feedback on specific goals, that releases the natural internal inclination to improve. James Fallows
Why a retrospective? To reach closure Research shows that when organizations go through changes, people have feelings and thoughts but no place to express them in the normal course of business. Thus, their experience is carried forward as a heaviness that slows them down and keeps them from moving into the new setting with enthusiasm. Barbara Waugh
Why a retrospective? To create a community … wisdom comes from our ability to understand the relationship between an individual’s work and that of the entire team. … I have seen whole-team reflection explain, discover, and teach so much. I believe that there is no better way to improve a team’s performance and quality. Norm Kerth
What a retrospective isn’t Not a postmortem (sometimes it is!) Do at regular intervals Not a drudgery Techniques are fun (sometimes it isn’t fun) Not done in secret Can include different affinity groups Not a whine session Emphasis is on being constructive Not a witch hunt Participants speak from “I/we” point of view
Kerth’s Prime Directive Regardless of what we discover, we must understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job he or she could, given what was known at the time, his or her skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.
What You Need Team members Location, location, location Facilitator – external or internal (see “Facilitation Resources” slide) Supplies, such as: Flipcharts Colored cards, pens Tape or thumbtacks
What happens During Readying Look at the past Examples: Create Safety, I’m Too Busy Examples: Artifacts Contest, Timeline Prepare for the future Examples: Making the Magic Happen, Change the Paper
How to “sell” retrospectives in your organization The purpose of a retrospective is learning … … to avoid recurring mistakes … to identify and share successful practices … to prepare for the next iteration and future projects Everyone says they want to learn, but so few take the time to do so.
Next Steps Get Norm Kerth’s book Read it! Sign up for the retrospectives Yahoo group: [email protected] Sell the retrospective idea in your organization: www.cs.unca.edu/~manns/intropatterns.html
Project Retrospectives a final thought from Norm Kerth (and Edward Bear) … we bump our heads in project after project, day after day. If we would only take a moment to stop and think of alternative ways to proceed, I’m sure we could find better ways to do our work. Norm Kerth
Facilitation resources International Association of Facilitators - certification program http://www.iaf-world.org/ ASTD - American Society for Training and Development - local chapters http://www.astd.org/index_NS6.html ISPI - International Society for Performance Improvement - certification, local chapters http://www.ispi.org/ NASAGA - North American Simulation and Gaming Association http://www.nasaga.org/ Workshops by Thiagi - Freebies http://thiagi.com/ Roger Schwartz, The Skilled Facilitator Sam Kaner et al, Facilitators Guide to Participatory Decision Making Ingrid Bens, Facilitate with Ease! Josey-Bass Inc., 2000. R. Brian Stanfield, ed., The Art of Focused Conversation. ICA Canada, 1977. R. Brian Stanfield, ed., The Workshop Book. ICA Canada, 2002. Training and development Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/trdev/