Retrospectives allow the scrum teams to reflect on the sprint cycle by highlighting successes and issues that they faced during the current sprint cycle. It helps the agile teams to learn, grow, and improve their performance along with boosting their morale.
Retrospectives are focused on what went well and what didn’t, such as Sprint processes, iteration lengths, commitments, common blockers, feedback cycles, co-ordination with external teams etc. The teams should not be discussing technical issues related to the project, those discussions should be tabled to be discussed separately.
Step 1: Sometimes it is difficult for the team to articulate specific things, to facilitate discussion the facilitator can ask questions similar to the ones listed below
- Did the team finish the work committed in the sprint?
- Was there work added or removed during the middle of the sprint?
- Did the user stories have sufficient detail for the team to perform the work?
- Are the team members being pulled into managing any other work?
- Are the action items created in the previous retrospective complete?
Step 2: Encourage every team member to participate and gather data as to what went well and what could need improvement. With distributed teams this can be a challenge, so it is helpful to use a tool that will help with collaboration. Its best to supplement video conferencing with with a canvas wherein people can view and edit information simultaneously.
Step 3: Each team member can cast votes on issues that need to be tackled in next Sprint. The top two or three issues which have the maximum number of votes should be picked.
Step 4: The top issues should be discussed by the team to figure out what needs to change, if its within the team’s capability. Else the issue needs to be escalated to management. Once the team agrees on the possible solution or escalation then action items need to be created along with assigned owners to those action items.