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Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great Paperback – August 5, 2006
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Two of the software industry's leading facilitators have taken their many years of retrospective experience and distilled them into an approachable reference for agile team leaders. For all of the self-made facilitators out there who have been winging it, this book will provide a solid foundation to improve the effectiveness of your iteration, release, and project retrospectives.--Dave Hoover Lead Consultant, Agile Practices Obtiva Corp.
Esther Derby and Diana Larsen have written the definitive book on agile retrospectives. You don't have to be an agile team to take advantage of their book; you only have to want to improve. Follow their advice and your teams will be more successful.--Johanna Rothman Author, speaker and consultant Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.
""Two of the software industry's leading facilitators have taken their many years of retrospective experience and distilled them into an approachable reference for agile team leaders. For all of the self-made facilitators out there who have been winging it, this book will provide a solid foundation to improve the effectiveness of your iteration, release, and project retrospectives.""
--Dave Hoover, Lead Consultant, Agile Practices Obtiva Corp.
""Esther Derby and Diana Larsen have written the definitive book on agile retrospectives. You don't have to be an agile team to take advantage of their book; you only have to want to improve. Follow their advice and your teams will be more successful."" --Johanna Rothman, Author, speaker and consultant, Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.
About the Author
Esther Derby is one of the rare breed of consultants who blends the technical and managerial issues with the people-side issues. She is well known for her work helping teams grow to new levels of productivity and is recognized as one of the world's leaders in retrospective facilitation. Esther's articles have appeared in Better Software (formerly STQE), Software Development, Cutter IT Journal, and CrossTalk. She writes regular columns for stickyminds.com and Computerworld.com, and publishes the quarterly newsletter, insights. Esther is also a host and session leader at the Amplifying Your Effectiveness (AYE) conference. Diana Larsen partners with leaders of software development projects to improve project performance, support and sustain change, and build collaborative workplaces. Diana serves on the boards of the Agile Alliance and the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference, participates in planning for the XP 200x and Agile 200x conferences, and speaks at several software conferences every year. She's written articles for Software Development, At Work, Cutter IT Journal, and Cutter's Executive Update and e-Advisor series. Diana is a founder of the Annual International Retrospective Facilitators Gathering.
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That is not to say that there are not some grand theories within.
Consider this book and essential field guide for those practicing Agile Project Management. Of the 11 on the PMI list this book is clearly a must buy!
Retrospectives! This is crucial stuff that too many people put too little thought into. Call it what it is: Probably the second most important meeting of your entire project/sprint. What's the first? Not kickoff! Funding, of course ;)
But seriously, any and all agile practitioners need to pick a book like this up and make your retrospectives empowering, celebratory, and constructive experiences!
If you are like me, you have found that traditional "lessons learned" meetings after projects were held rarely, and a rarer number of these actually generated anything of any impact on future work. In some of my readings about Agile Software Development, I read that Agile Teams have retrospectives regularly with each iteration. I thought this was interesting, but didn't really know what to do. Enter this book.
The authors do a great job of outlining how the process should work and why each of the phases of are important. The give good coverage of
* Setting the Stage
* Gathering Information
* Generating Insights
* Deciding What to Do
* Closing the Retrospective
Not only do they explain the general process, but they give a fairly extensive list of activities to use for each phase with suggestions about which ones work in different situations. After reading this book, I was able to immediately turn around and facilitate a rertrospective for my team's latest project release.
This book is about all that you could ask for. The material is rich, but the amount of material is fairly short and quick to read. It is very focused and clear on how to take action. I would recommend investing in this book to anyone who wants to do a better job of *truly* learning from past project experience.
First, the idea of retrospectives, as opposed to post-mortems (are our projects really dead?), as an ongoing process is challenging and exciting. Rather than waiting until the end, reviewing not just progress but the state of the team makes great sense.
Then, the way that they put it all together - stating the value of the process, giving an outline for how to conduct a retrospective - makes it something you can indeed do right from the book.
But as much as anything, the exercises/activities that make up a large part of this book are a tremendous value. Rather than trying to figure out "what should we do/say in a retrospective?", we are guided through combinations of activities to help us achieve the most effective results.
And it's not just about agile. While the concept has developed through the growth of agile development practices, this is a tool that can benefit any organization of any type doing anything.
It's a quick read with benefits that far outweigh the time it takes to read it. Ready to change the life of your organization? Introduce retrospectives.