Hindsight Is 50/50

Bart has been in ecommerce for over 20 years, and can't imagine a better job to have. He is interested in all things agile, or anything new to learn.

Do team members and executives in your organization see retrospectives as a waste of time and expense? If so, maybe your retrospectives aren’t providing the value they should, from establishing a culture of team learning and stressing continual improvement, to tracking metrics and celebrating successes.

The Agile methodology contains a handful of checkpoints, which some call “ceremonies.” These include Sprint Planning, Daily Stand-Ups, Sprint Demo and Sprint Retrospective. In general, whenever I hear the word “ceremony” the person is using it somewhat derisively. Either it is meant in a way to belittle the process or to denigrate the current implementation, such as, “Oh, we perform all the ceremonies, but we aren’t Agile.”

The process doesn’t work well unless you perform all four of them, but in general, it is the retrospective that makes Agile truly succeed. Other methodologies certainly contain planning, demonstrations and frequent check-ins. But very few of them contain a process to change the way the work is being done, change the environment, or determine what is working and what is not, followed by a commitment to change for the next iteration. It is part of the Do-and-Inspect cycle that makes up the positive feedback loop that is so important to Agile.

Some teams will do a retrospective every sprint, some will do them …

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"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible."

- George Burns

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