In this third post in the series on handling impediments I'll explore what you can do to understand the impediment and underlying the problems that the team is trying to deal with. Previous posts explained why impediments matter and how you can recognize the problem.
This second post in the series on handling impediments builds on the process described in Handling Impediments: Why it Matters! I'll dive into the first step: recognizing the problem.
Een sterk punt van een agile aanpak is dat dat er in korte cycli, z.g. iteraties of sprints (Scrum) gewerkt wordt, en er steeds feedback momenten zijn. Het cyclisch werken met feedback zorgt ervoor dat het proces bewaakt kan worden, en informatie uit de feedback helpt om continue de agile werkwijze te verbeteren. Dit artikel beschrijft welke feedback er in agile is en hoe je die feedback effectief kunt benutten.
I sometimes hear of teams that have stopped doing retrospectives because they didn't see any improvements. When I talk with them it often turns out that they didn't have good actions coming out of the retrospectives, or that the actions weren't done and kept coming back in the retrospective. No actions leads to no improvement. Here are some suggestions on what you can do to assure that you will have actions from retrospectives that are doable and that those actions get done.
People are often afraid to make mistakes. They do things to prevent that something might go wrong and avoid doing things that might fail. And if it does go wrong then they don't talk about it. Is it really bad if once in a while something goes wrong? If something can go wrong, let arrange for it to happen as soon as possible, because then you can quickly learn from it. Create a culture where failure is allowed so that we can all learn from it and find ways to make fewer mistakes!
Retrospective is a special time dedicated to analyse the strength and weakness of the teamwork process. There is already some well known tools used to animate this meeting and we tend to use often the same kind of exercise, which can lead to demotivation among the team members and to the feeling of not being able to improve anything anymore. We need to go back to the initial goal of the retrospective : getting better together, by using the collective intelligence and by ensuring the involvement of every team member as much in the creative process as in its application.
In the mini-workshop Experience new exercises to spice up your agile retrospective #RetroValue that I gave at Lean Kanban France teams experienced three different retrospectives exercises. They learned how retrospectives can help them to gain deeper insight in their situation and came up with actions to deal with problems and improve their performance.
As a retrospective facilitator it's important to have a toolbox of retrospective exercises which you can use to design a retrospective. Before having a retrospective meeting, you want to prepare yourself by considering which exercises would be most suitable. That depends on the team, the situation at hand, and on what the team would like to work on. Here are some tips for designing valuable agile retrospectives that help addressing specific situations.
Root Cause Analysis can be used in software development to build a shared understanding of a problem to determine the first or “root” causes. Knowing these causes helps to identify effective improvement actions to prevent similar problems in the future. You can also do Root Cause Analysis in agile to stop problems that have been bugging your team for too long.
Another technique for Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives is "Asking Why?". "Why" is one of the most valuable question that I use in retrospectives. It gives insight in peoples behavior and their feelings and motives that drive them, helps to find root causes of problems, and reveal the strengths that people have. And helps teams to see common goals, and find ways to collaboratively reach them.
What can agile projects do to improve collaboration between teams, and increase their contributions in the project? Doing retrospectives of retrospectives is a way to share learnings across a project, and to solve problems that a project is facing.
When you have problems that keep coming back in your sprints, you can try the five times why technique. It helps you to get to the root causes of the problems, and to define effective actions that prevent them from happening in future sprints. This is one of the retrospective technique that will be included in the Pocket Book on Agile Retrospectives, your feedback can help us to improve it!