Sprint retrospective meeting is a last event in a sprint held by scrum team to reflex on the team and their works during the last sprint, by doing this, the team is practicing the Agile “inspect and adapt” principle.
At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
This is considered as one of the most indispensable meetings in Scrum. Let’s take a look back on the core of a retrospective meeting:
- Engaging the whole team with some guests.
- Focusing on the team performance rather than individuals.
- Revisiting the Definition of Done and result of previous meeting.
- Creating a list of actionable commitments.
- Respected and safe environment to raise voice.
To facilitate the meeting is not easy, among all Scrum meetings, Retrospective definitely is among the most difficult. In many teams, Retrospective meeting is usually skipped because of following reasons:
1. Scrum Master/Manager use Retrospective to blame people:
When a Sprint fails, the bad Scrum Master will ask the team to find out the responsible person and pressure the person on his failure. This is extremely bad because not only it does not solve anything; it also shatters the team spirit and disunites the team into individual’s responsibility; QA blames Dev, Dev blames Db etc…
2. It has long and unfocused discussion:
The discussion if not well directed can be never-ending and lost track. The team can easily create a tense or boring environment.
An example can be a member keep finding excuses for failing some user story while another one instantly proves those excuses invalid.
3. It generates no actionable commitments:
After the retrospective, we need a list of actionable commitments. The commitment must be in S.M.A.R.T model.
For example: “From next sprint, the team will be more careful when fix bug” is absolutely not an actionable commitments.
A good example would be: “Before fixing bug, we will write an unit test to prove that bug exists”. This is very easy to answer Yes/No when we review the back log.
4. It creates fears and boredom:
Because of the above reasons, the retrospective creates nothing valuable but fears and boredom to the team, which will only make the situation from bad to worse.
If you find your team in the list, there is chance that you are doing themeeting the wrong way. To fix this, we need to get back to the core values of doing retrospective and make sure that the meeting matches them.