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Imagine the End, to Begin Well

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Agile trainer and coach Andy Pols has reported that at SPA2006, retrospectives guru Norm Kerth described the practice of "Kick-Off Retrospectives".

Imagination and goal setting are powerful implements in the agilist's toolkit.  Imagining a good end sounds like a great way to start anything.  This practice asks participants to imagine how they will answer at the retrospective of a fixed-length project (for example, a pilot or a software delivery).  The kickoff question could be phrased as:
"Team, imagine that this is the retrospective at the end of the project.  So, we've already finished our work, we''ve delivered our product.  Now: what was so good about this project that you would like to repeat it on future projects?"
This exercise can set expectations and inform the team's decisions about how they want to work together. Imagining a positive outcome in advance can unconsciously move team members into positive thinking about a difficult project. Now, a team would have both clear customer and team expectations to work toward.

Another way to do this is using the Rob Thomsett's "sliders" exercise and including Team Satisfaction criteria. These have been adapted for a couple of different uses in Agile software projects by Sanjiv Augustine's in Managing Agile Projects.

Agile work is, in part, about transforming how we think about what we do - why not start on day one?

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