I created the following 5 Retrospective Principles to use as a framework for explaining/presenting on retrospectives and training retrospective facilitators. I've found this approach useful as it adresses the “why” before getting into the “how”, so allows folks to more easily transform intention to practice(and, I hope, help to reduce the level of template-think!).
Also, as requested, here is the Dilbert Retrospective cartoon - dilbertslide.ppt
1. The highest-value learning results from a purposeful examination of project history by those involved.
- “Experience gets turned into learning when an organization alters itself to take account of what experience has shown…
Peopleware – Productive Projects and Teams by DeMarco & Lister
2. Retrospectives are ultimately about the future, as conditioned by the past.
- The fundamental goal of a retrospective is change
3. Safety is a mandatory pre-condition for establishing a learning environment.
- Meeting safety is a hallmark of retrospectives and is essential for enabling the complete context of the undertaking to unfold.
- The Facilitator must be able to create a safe environment where participants:
4. Agility obliges retrospective planners to fashion each retrospective as a unique occurrence.
- Note: The intended meaning of “Agility” here is not about Agile development; it refers to the dictionary definition “the ability to think and draw conclusions quickly”. A different word may be in order.
5. Retrospectives are about the human experience of working together and must embrace perceptions and feelings along with actions and facts.
- Project work is inherently a social activity.
Group Responses to Principle Discussion
- It seems Principle #4 could be 2 principles:
- New principle idea around equal value in the contribution of every participant.
- Recognize that teams are the fundamental building capability within an organization; they need a shared picture that all acknowledge to be able to learn.
- The recurring ceremony of retrospectives builds community through the sharing.