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Marc Löffler works as an Agile Coach with Sybit GmbH. Before getting in touch with agile methods and principles in 2006 he was working as a traditional project manager for companies like Volkswagen AG or Siemens AG. His passion is to help teams that are struggling with agile transitions and overcoming dysfunctional behaviour. He loves to generate new insights by approaching common problems from the other side and trying to deliberately make havoc of the process. Marc is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 13 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

10 Ways to Kill Your Retrospective

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It’s about time for a new list. Today, I decided to write a list on how to mess up your retrospective. There are a lot of possibilities to do this and the following tips will help you doing so ;)

1 – don’t prepare anything

As the retrospective is the simplest and least important meeting of all Scrum meetings, it doesn’t need any preparation. Just come together and start. Wait, where are the pens and the post-its? Forget about it! Just sit together and chat a bit.

2 – Start immediately

As there is no need to set the stage, start immediately with gathering data. Immediately start the retrospective with asking the two questions: “What went wrong?” and “What went well”. That should be sufficient to get great results.

3 – Don’t check if the tasks of the last Retro were done

We don’t care about the old crap from the last retrospective. If it was important enough, it will make it again to our retrospective results. And again, and again, and again, and again….

4 – don’t use post its

Post Its are evil! Endless trees have to die to create this evildoing. You have silent and introvert people in your team? Then maybe it is time for them to learn to speak up. It also helps to reduce all of this retrospective waste, with all of these things that can’t be solved anyway.

5 – Forget about the Insight

Insight? Isn’t it clear why you failed in your last sprint? Maybe you should also skip the “Gather data” step and instantly start to “Decide what to do”.

6 – No DUE date

Due dates are for waterfallers. As we’re working in an agile environment, we don’t need any due dates.

7 – no responsible

Repeat after me: “We’re no waterfallers”. A responsible person is a concept from the stone age. We as a team will make sure that the task will be done.

8 – No time box

This whole concept of a time box is exhausting, isn’t it? Can’t we just skip it for the retrospective? Just sit together and talk and for sure we will have something valuable in the ehh, when it is over, eventually…

9 – try to solve everything

You collected a big list of issues? Then you should try to solve all of them. It can’t be that you ignore some of the problems of the last sprint. Define a task for each identified impediment or problem and solve it in the next sprint.

10 – Always use the same scheme

Always ask the same questions and do the same exercises in all of your retrospectives. This will create a comfy environment for your team and you ensure that you’ll always have a energized and creative team. Your retrospective results will be awesome. Ignore all of this fancy new methods to facilitate a retrospective. This is all new age shit.


Published at DZone with permission of Marc Löffler, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Timo Lihtinen replied on Wed, 2012/03/14 - 11:28am

Great viewpoint, thanks for sharing. But I disagree with the Post Its usage. To be honest I love Post Its (we use recycle paper :) ), its another way to keep those intro people share their thoughts, if round table discussion is bit hold them for their ideas. We used to gather all those post-it, after the retro and document them, stick on the wall for team to refer to / move forward from the retro meeting. Just my thinking. Happy for discussion and debate :P

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