Understanding the Importance of Retrospectives

Gaurav is a consultant in Ghaziabad, U.P., India.

When following agile practices, some team members may find some processes redundant—possibly because they don’t understand their importance. One such event is the retrospective, which is conducted after every sprint review/demo.

Once the scrum team starts progressing on the path of agile maturity, certain activities are performed as a formality to broadcast adherence to agile mechanics. There can be a misconception here, as adherence to a practice or a process is not for the larger audience but for the team’s improvement.

Typically, when a retrospective is conducted, the team focuses on three main points:

  1. What went well?
  2. What did not go well?
  3. Are there any improvements or best practices that can be implemented (or what can the team do differently)?

When a retrospective is conducted, the scrum master needs to set the stage properly so that the entire team is involved. They must collaborate to improve performance, discuss how they perceive sprint goals and determine whether they achieved what they committed to. It’s not only about performance, but how the coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders made the sprint a success or failure. Retrospectives are typically not a post-mortem meeting, where root cause analysis is intended to pinpoint bottlenecks and failure points. Rather, they are forward-looking, collaborative …

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