I’ve been extremely fortunate in my career to work with really talented amazing folks. One person that specifically comes to mind is our scrum master at ThreatQuotient. He, like other good scrum masters, really understands the social engineering aspects of running a .

Over the years we’ve tried to reboot our retrospective process a few ways. We’ve done the classic “Start, Stop, Continue”. We’ve used a method called the ESVP that allows you to assess the teams mental state going into the meeting.

There are two things we’ve started adopting over the last months that I have found to be particularly affective:

#1 – “Which stories did you love? Which did you hate?”

One of our lead developers (shout out to Vicki) brought this phrasing to the table and I immediately thought, “Wow, that is such a genius way to phrase that.”

It immediately worked. The team starting going off about how a particular ticket was a nightmare and they are so glad it’s over.

By having the scrum team identify the stories they hated, it allowed us to quickly drill deeper into why, resulting in tons of constructive feedback that we could act upon.

Then shifting focus, we highlighted a story that we loved.

By having the scrum team identify the stories they loved, it made it really easy to ask targeted questions to help us understand why they worked well and what we should continue to do.

It no longer seemed like criticism was directed at specific people but instead recalling what happened.

#2 – Use a sprint synopsis

Going back to the intro of the article… with so much going on, it’s easy to forget the steps along the way to completion.

To help our team remember, our (awesome) scrum master outlines the sprint work in four different columns:

  • Tickets that were completed without issue
  • Tickets that failed review but ultimately were completed
  • Tickets that ended up bleeding to the next sprint
  • Tickets that were consciously taken out of the sprint

By listing the tickets that were in the sprint based on each outcome it helped the team isolate and identify why.

Sometimes the reasons were something the team could learn from, other times it would outside factors the team couldn’t control at play. Either way, each time we repeat the exercise we have a better understanding of how we work together.

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