Agile Retrospective (Scrum) is not just about working on mistakes. It is a process aimed at continually improving the effectiveness of the team. Improvements can be about anything from workplace lighting to changes in team composition. It’s not a scrum invention. A continuous improvement cycle (called the Deming cycle) should work in any organization: Planning -> Action -> Compliance Check -> Response. It works at the task level, the product (incremental) level, and the project level as a whole. The norm is for each team member to think about how to do their own and the overall work more effectively.
In retrospect, problems are consistently identified and decisions on improvements are made.
The scrum master asks the team the following questions:
1. What was done well?
When critically “sorting things out,” it is useful, to begin with, this question. The fact is that the human mind has a negative nature because one of its purposes is to protect us from danger and trouble. That’s why the mind easily seeks out and notices problems and shortcomings. And to see the positive, it sometimes needs an “order”.
When discussing shortcomings, it is doubly useful for the team to know that there are also successes. Otherwise, there will be a skewed perception. It may seem that there is only bad news. But there is always some achievement, big or small. The fact that positive changes do not go unnoticed motivates everyone to become even better.
2. What could be improved?
The team analyzes what has reduced its effectiveness, and badly affected processes and results. In doing so, it is useful to look at the following aspects of the past sprint:
- the team’s speed and its change from previous sprints;
- Unrealized user stories and the reasons for their delay;
- defects and their causes;
- the quality of the processes (irregularities, backtracks).
The scrum master needs to make sure that this step does not turn into a search for the guilty and their punishment. By the values of Agile, the premise should be that each member of the team did everything possible for the overall success.
3. What improvements will we make?
Here it is necessary to talk not only about how to get rid of the problems identified in the second step but also about how to make the successes and findings found in the first step permanent.
The results are written down in the form of an improvement plan. Those tasks in the plan that require resource allocation should be treated in the same way as technical stories. The scrum master must see to it that the decisions made are implemented.
The overall goal of hindsight is to improve the team and each of its members. It is not enough to just come up with a list of measures and start implementing them. For improvements to be robust and deep, rather than superficial, they must be based on changes in people. Therefore, in ideal hindsight, everyone notes for themselves what they need to change in themselves (in their knowledge, character, habits, attitudes, attitudes, feelings) to improve overall team performance. The team is the people that make it up.