Retrospectives and feedback loops are at the heart of any successful Agile/Scrum implementation. They’re the tool we use to help teams improve. Yet in two day introduction to Agile classes they often get glossed over. Lacking time trainers (including this one) often race through the topic outlining only one simple type of retrospectives.
Angela Harms recently blogged about the Agile Retrospective Prime Directive. She discusses how the language of the prime directive around "everyone doing their best" could be seen as patronizing and insulting to team members. Other commentators who have discussed the intent of the Prime Directive include Esther Derby and George Dinwiddie. How useful is the Retrospective Prime Directive?
James Carr recently published a list of five rules to help improve the effectiveness of retrospectives. The rules are based on his experiences in hundreds of retrospectives, both successful and not.
It is often assumed that once the pilot Agile teams are successful, the process of Agile adoption is on the right track. Dave Nicolette shares very intriguing insights into situations where the adoption failed even after very successful pilot implementations.
Many consider the retrospective to be an agile team’s most powerful tool for continuous improvement. The retrospective captures learning and insights while experiences are fresh, and the lessons are immediately applied to the teams on-going work. A discussion on the Retrospectives Yahoo Group examined how to adapt a retrospective to work across multiple sites, with a distributed team.
A month has passed since Agile 2009 and there is now a good variety of feedback on the conference, the sessions and what participants found most valuable.
Once all your teams use Agile and are busy implementing local improvements, what happens to the larger organization formerly called "IT" or "Systems Development"? A coach with a large Agile program shared the strategy they designed to let the larger community spot trends and benefit from all this learning. Paulo Caroli calls it "Retrospective of Retrospectives".
Agile retrospective helps the team examine what went well during the past sprint and identify the areas of improvement for the future sprints. However, sometimes the exercise of conducting a retrospective ends up as a futile effort due to lack of preparation. Moreover, key members of the team end up either not attending or not participating in the meeting.
A sprint burn-down chart tracks the size of the sprint backlog over the course of the sprint. During the sprint retrospective, the burn-down chart can provide valuable data about how the sprint went. Mike Sutton uses annotations to capture more data on the burn-down chart, making it even more useful during the retrospective.
Sebastian Hermida has put together a free online tool to help teams get a better understanding of how well they're doing adopting agility. The site, abetterteam.org, is based on the "Assess Your Agility" quiz Jim Shore and Shane Warden include in their book, The Art Of Agile Development.
Recently there has been an active discussion in the Scrum Development Yahoo Group about handling an "under-performing" team member. In the 130+ response thread, "Rotten apple in Scrum team", talk ranged from advice for the primary question, to talk of team morale and who manages it, to the classic debate of measuring individuals, to distinguishing whether a team is really a "team", and more.
A number of SOA authors and analysts have been making their predictions for where SOA will be going in 2009. Common amongst them are the increasing use of small-scale bottom-up SOA developments, cloud meeting SOA (and maybe taking over some of its hype) and the adoption of open source as a way to cut costs as well as drive adoption.
Advice from Esther Derby, George Dinwiddie, Jo Geske, Mike Sutton and Ilja Preuss on how to make retrospectives better. The ideas include tips for the facilitator/Scrum Master and new ways to use the burndown chart.
Kevin Schlabach discusses using a "Snake On The Wall", a lightweight approach targeted at helping your team get a better handle on the things that are slowing the development process.
In the Wall Street Journal, Sam Culbert argues that annual performance and pay reviews are at best dysfunctional. He sees their primary purpose as "intimidation aimed at preserving the boss's authority and power advantage". Jeff Sutherland, Mary Poppendieck, ... offer alterantives