Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Project Retrospective

Retrospectives are there to help the team keep getting better by looking at whats is good, what is bad and what can be improved with how we work. But if no body speaks out, finding facts can be next to impossible. Also we tend to remember the bad more often. Add a multi-site team to this mix and what you get is a recipe for disaster.

So when a short project of three months (where a RnD team collaborated with consulting) ended and the retro for it came up i wanted to avoid a disaster and make this retro a 'good one'. 

For me gathering the data seemed the most important. After a chat with our in-house scrum guru, Hiruna we came up with an activity called a 'Discussion Matrix'. Idea was to post at least one  point of discussion before the Retro. And you had to post a reply for at least two other.  It was an instant hit. 

For a distributed team use an online white board such as http://groupzap.com or  http://linoit.com. Following is a basic summery of the activity.

Activity: Discussion Matrix

Stage: Gather Data

Time: Add the white board one week prior to retro. 30- 45 minutes during retro, for a team of  6.

Purpose: Use this for a project retrospective to find important topics about the project history. Create a discussion before to coming to the retro if time is limited.

  1. Create the online discussion board and share it among the team.  Describe the process.
  2. Ask each one to enter at least one discussion point and comment on two others.
  3. Before posting a topic check if others have raised it. If so then comment on it rather than adding.
  4. During the retro Describe the process again and ask if someone needs to post any last minute topic or comment. If so give 5-10 min.
  5. If there are less than 10 points take up a discussion on each. More than ten group and/or vote to prioritize.
  6. Ask each person to read the ideas listed. Have an open discussion on the points. 
  7. Use the discussion to generating insights.

Follow on activities: Prioritize with Dots/ Short Subjects


  • Can it be run anonymously? Yes. But having names could be a plus as well. It allowed team member to use the comments section to appreciate another.   

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