Retrospectives in Agile Project Processes – Shane Harrison


From the Agile manifesto: At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Shane Harrison on how to optimize retrospectives in agile development processes like Scrum.

Agile retrospectives-project-management-truth-matters

Agile behaviors

  1. A clear road ahead
  2. Self-organizing teams
  3. Frequent focused delivery
  4. Inspect and adapt (learning)
  5. Communicate powerfully
  6. Test everything
  7. Time boxing
  8. Measure success

Artifacts & Activities


The iteration retrospective shows how teams work: Does everybody shut up, does the Scrum master lead/dominate? The truth about the actual team spirit lies in the retrospectives…


Retrospectives drive evolution, evolution is critical to improvement.

How to Practice Retrospectives

What went well, what initiative we need to start, what we need to stop, what we need to improve, bring in innovative ideas. Variety is important, though, or the brain will start ignoring repetitive items. Celebrating success is important, too.

Practice Steps for Retrospectives

Set the ground rules, introduce categories, 3-5 items per category, each person puts up items and explains it (without team discussion), each team member has 2 votes (1 must-go, 1 good), take top 3 in (stop, start, improve), review with team are these really the top 3, review each item and plan action (SMART).

Of Chicken and Pigs: Avoid having chickens in the room during retrospectives, they distract.

Problems found in agile retrospectives according to Shane Harrison Solutions found in agile retrospectives according to Shane Harrison

Things winning teams do differently

– Get specicific (SMART goals)
– Be realistic (what can be achieved)
– Seize the moment (implement improvements into next sprint)
– Know exactly what can be changed (that is within your control)
– Focus on getting better rather than being perfect (it’s a journey)
– Have grit and will power (be persistent, try, try again)
– Build your self-control „muscle“ (just enough but not too much)
– Focus (eyes on the prize)
– Have as much fun as you can (take the job seriously but not yourself)
– Know the history (those who don’t are doomed to repeat it)

Think like a chess player: Look beyond the next move, always play to the end game, play for postion, play every move with the final objective in mind.

chess-player-strategic-thinking-shane-harrison LAS conference 2011 Zurich

It’s not possible to go from zero to hero in one retrospective. It usually takes a few iterations to improve.

Keep the sessions positive!

5 negative comments equal one positive. Research has shown that evoltuion has taught us to be skeptical of positive things, it takes multiple sources and instances of a positive feedback or news before we will change our positon. In fact it actually takes 5 positive comments just to balance 1 negative one.

We are born to learn, for our life time! Don’t stop exposure to new things! And every good thing we do we have learned, as with every bad thing… Learn at all cost, always!

Danke fürs teilen meines Beitrags ;-)

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Walter Schärer bloggt über neuste Internet-Trends im Online Marketing, Social Media, Blogs, Web Analytics, SEO, Mobile und so.

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