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Topics: Agile, Communications Management, Talent Management
Questions in a Retrospective
Is there any reason, in a retrospective, to ask, "what should be done differently next time?" instead of asking "what went wrong?"

Is it just a semantic issue?
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Luis -

The latter might be perceived as accusatory and as such might be seen as counter to the Prime Directive for Retrospectives: "Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand."

You are correct that it is a question of semantics, so in a team with a high degree of trust and psychological safety, either format would be fine, but in a new team, the former might yield a better result.

Kiron
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Dec 31, 2021 4:34 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiron
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

I was reading an article in which the authors propose the introduction of a series of recreational activities such as "Speed ​​Boat"

It reminded me of activities in behavioral training
The problem is not what you ask. The problem is waiting to some moment in time (retrospective for example) to asking something. This attempts directly against the basement of Agile definition and mainly agile based methods.
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Dec 31, 2021 4:38 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Sergio
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

I was referring to the assessment, made by the team, after 2,3 or 4 weeks of work and with the aim of implementing any corrective measures in the way they work.

I would like to better understand your point of view
Dec 30, 2021 1:55 PM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Luis -

The latter might be perceived as accusatory and as such might be seen as counter to the Prime Directive for Retrospectives: "Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand."

You are correct that it is a question of semantics, so in a team with a high degree of trust and psychological safety, either format would be fine, but in a new team, the former might yield a better result.

Kiron
Dear Kiron
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

I was reading an article in which the authors propose the introduction of a series of recreational activities such as "Speed ​​Boat"

It reminded me of activities in behavioral training
...
1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Dec 31, 2021 8:57 AM
Kiron Bondale
...
One of the reasons that there are so many "recipes" for retrospectives available is to broaden participants' horizons beyond just the what went well/poorly binary view of the world.

I really appreciate the great work Chris Stone has done in imagining and creating numerous Miro-based retrospective templates on all kinds of themes. For a short to medium duration project, using those, you might never have the same retro twice!

Kiron
Dec 30, 2021 3:15 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
The problem is not what you ask. The problem is waiting to some moment in time (retrospective for example) to asking something. This attempts directly against the basement of Agile definition and mainly agile based methods.
Dear Sergio
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

I was referring to the assessment, made by the team, after 2,3 or 4 weeks of work and with the aim of implementing any corrective measures in the way they work.

I would like to better understand your point of view
...
1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Dec 31, 2021 5:30 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
...
I understood your point. My point is the semantic do not matter. What´s matter is not making the assessment continuously and wait for doing that in a moment in the time, for example as you state after 2, 3, 4 weeks. You can use any question and any process. For example, if you take the Scrum Guide, you will not find a line with the statement about the questions you have to make and if you take SAFe you will find more specification about the questions and the process.
Dec 31, 2021 4:38 AM
Replying to Luis Branco
...
Dear Sergio
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

I was referring to the assessment, made by the team, after 2,3 or 4 weeks of work and with the aim of implementing any corrective measures in the way they work.

I would like to better understand your point of view
I understood your point. My point is the semantic do not matter. What´s matter is not making the assessment continuously and wait for doing that in a moment in the time, for example as you state after 2, 3, 4 weeks. You can use any question and any process. For example, if you take the Scrum Guide, you will not find a line with the statement about the questions you have to make and if you take SAFe you will find more specification about the questions and the process.
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Dec 31, 2021 11:37 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Sergio
Thank you for clarifying your point of view.
Personally, I prefer that there are formal events of reflection about the way the work is being developed (processes) and about the relationships, unless the circumstances demand another type of approach.
I see them as very different questions, though I also see teams getting confused about them being the same. Asking, "what went wrong" can be accusatory as Kiron said; that can - and should - be addressed by the introduction to the question. The question, "what should be done differently next time?" goes beyond just went wrong (or right) and gets to progressive thinking. It isn't just, "don't do that again!" This question should help the team think about ways of using the lessons learned and applying them in a variety of different ways. It is a chance to use synergy for problem solving. "What can be done differently next time" might be about things that neither went well nor went wrong but would still be helpful in the future/. A very (very!) simple example could be changing the increment definitions of progress from 5 to 3 to reduce the time to assess and discuss at each progress meeting.
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Dec 31, 2021 11:41 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Sandra
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinions
I share Kiron's opinion: If there is psychological safety...
Dec 31, 2021 4:34 AM
Replying to Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiron
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

I was reading an article in which the authors propose the introduction of a series of recreational activities such as "Speed ​​Boat"

It reminded me of activities in behavioral training
One of the reasons that there are so many "recipes" for retrospectives available is to broaden participants' horizons beyond just the what went well/poorly binary view of the world.

I really appreciate the great work Chris Stone has done in imagining and creating numerous Miro-based retrospective templates on all kinds of themes. For a short to medium duration project, using those, you might never have the same retro twice!

Kiron
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Dec 31, 2021 11:43 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiron
Thanks for the sugestion
I will have to better explore the work developed by Chris Stone
Dec 31, 2021 5:30 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
I understood your point. My point is the semantic do not matter. What´s matter is not making the assessment continuously and wait for doing that in a moment in the time, for example as you state after 2, 3, 4 weeks. You can use any question and any process. For example, if you take the Scrum Guide, you will not find a line with the statement about the questions you have to make and if you take SAFe you will find more specification about the questions and the process.
Dear Sergio
Thank you for clarifying your point of view.
Personally, I prefer that there are formal events of reflection about the way the work is being developed (processes) and about the relationships, unless the circumstances demand another type of approach.
Dec 31, 2021 8:09 AM
Replying to Sandra Maughon
...
I see them as very different questions, though I also see teams getting confused about them being the same. Asking, "what went wrong" can be accusatory as Kiron said; that can - and should - be addressed by the introduction to the question. The question, "what should be done differently next time?" goes beyond just went wrong (or right) and gets to progressive thinking. It isn't just, "don't do that again!" This question should help the team think about ways of using the lessons learned and applying them in a variety of different ways. It is a chance to use synergy for problem solving. "What can be done differently next time" might be about things that neither went well nor went wrong but would still be helpful in the future/. A very (very!) simple example could be changing the increment definitions of progress from 5 to 3 to reduce the time to assess and discuss at each progress meeting.
Dear Sandra
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinions
I share Kiron's opinion: If there is psychological safety...
These questions; "what could we do better?", and "what went wrong?' suggest project failure to some extent. A true 'lessons learned' process includes "what did we do right?" and "how can we repeat?".

I also find that the wrong people manage these sessions and ask these questions - usually upper management querying the working stiffs. It comes across as 'armchair quarterbacks' revisiting the play after the action rather than making the call in real time.

Although the intent may be to improve future performance in many cases it instills resentment and de-motivates. On the next project people will be look over their backs (protecting their butts) rather than applying the skills as best they can.

As you can tell I am a bit wary of these retrospectives - not saying they don't have value but need to be managed by competent personnel.
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Dec 31, 2021 12:58 PM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Peter
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinions

Maybe I didn't explain myself well
Of course there are other questions to be asked, with particular reference to:
1. What did we do well? (or what is going well?)
2. What have we learned?

My question concerns only the aspects that can be improved in terms of process, communication and relationships
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