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Presentation: Heartbeat Retrospectives to Amplify Team Effectiveness

by Abel Avram on Jul 10, 2008 | NOTICE: The next QCon is in San Francisco Nov 3-7, Join us!

In this presentation filmed during QCon London 2007 and published by InfoQ a couple of weeks ago, Boris Gloger speaks about retrospectives. Agile development teams learn and improve by inspecting and adapting. High performing teams inspect and adapt not only their code and tests, but also their methods and interactions. Through regular retrospectives they become skilled at acquiring and using collective wisdom, accessing best practice thinking, avoiding faulty decisions or reinvented wheels, and increasing opportunities for successful innovations.

One way of doing retrospectives is to create specific stories to be used during the retrospective session. The stories are created by the members of the team based on their experience during a sprint. It can be anything related to team's activity like the air conditioning not functioning properly or inadequate infrastructure. The team may face various impediments coming from within the company they work for. Instead of complaining quietly about those, they should write a set of stories to be added to the backlog of retrospective entries.

At the end of a sprint, the team will have a retrospective session in a dedicated room/space/place lasting 10 to 90 minutes in which the entries in the backlog are discussed. Some of the problems are fixed, some are cleared up, and for some they have to decide how to live with or find a way around. The retrospective helps the team to better understand what they are doing, what's going well/wrong, and what they can do to improve their activity.

The presentation is 54 minutes long.

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