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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.
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I’m a Scrum Master. I have encountered all sorts of outcomes, outbursts and out-of-this-world scenarios in retrospectives. This book was a lifesaver when I needed more ideas how to engage my Sprint teams. Every chapter has a take away. For example, in the very first chapter, a retrospective is described, start to finish, with activities included, and closes with a make-believe but real-world outcome. The authors offer a prescribed structured format that keeps people engaged, focused and ontrack.
The chapter on “Setting the stage” is a great kick-off to a retrospective that keeps your Sprint team members from turning into the undead. The game “ESVP” is when the team members say whether they are “Explorers”, “Shoppers”, “Vacationers” or “Prisoners.” It can be really telling where the Sprint team is based on their answers.
The book also gives advice on dealing with dominating people and toxic people. Ever have someone just start barking at people in a retrospective? I have copied the authors’ exact phrasing when speaking to someone who will not lower their voice. There are more great “go-to-phrases” when you are at a loss for words or don’t know how to respond to an unfamiliar situation.
The only thing I would add to this book is a chapter on dealing with remote teams. How do you keep people awake with the sound of your voice when they are an ocean away? Use real-time tools like google draw/google forms to re-create these games. It’s not rocket science to build a fishbone diagram online. I have discovered that any interaction with remote tools, even just voting “thumbs up”, makes a huge difference in the engagement of a remote team. And, can keep team members from impersonating the walking dead.
This approach is immensely helpful. It not only allows everyone to contribute to the group dynamics of software development, but it also provides a progressive framework so that knowledge is not lost. Software development is an especially quirky and peculiar area of life that is-like-but-is-not-like so many other disciplines (e.g., management, business, manufacturing, mathematics, arts, etc.). It is nice to have a book dedicated to this topic.
This book provides examples of exercises to perform with the team. For example, a timeline of the project might be charted to facilitate what happened in the last release. Or a matrix can be charted to share different insights about the last iteration. These exercises comprise the heart and the value of the book.
This book recommends performing an eight-hour retrospective after each release or after each iteration. I frankly could not imagine slowing down this frequently or for this long. Perhaps a one-hour focused retrospective (with one or two exercises) might be more helpful. Then again, I work with smaller teams that are continually having conversations such as these amongst themselves.
Overall, this book provides exercises that are helpful to draw out conversation among all those involved in software development. I’ll use it as a references as I lead conversations about software.
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!
Top international reviews
A lot of variants can be found on google/linkedin groups (if you join the right ones) and so on, but this helps to clarify some of the finer details and theory.
Keeping Sprint Retrospectives engaging and useful is pivotal to helping a Scrum Team to continuously improve. This book will help you do that.
They start with the introduction of a general structure for retrospectives: Set the Stage - Gather Data - Generate Insights - Decide What to Do - Close the Retrospective. For all those different phases they then provide and explain multiple activities. They also mention for which time horizon each activity is appropriate: iteration, release, project. In addition they talk about general challenges for leading retrospectives, which I found very interesting and inspiring.
There's one criticism. Despite the detailed illustrated activities for the different phases, I still miss a clear picture of which activities can be combined from the different stages to form a retrospective. This should have been made clearer in the book.
Until now I attended retrospectives using only the start/stop/continue, or similar, approach, with a short reflection on the last action items and definition of new action items. I very much like the proposed general structure for retrospectives and the collection of different activities and am keen trying them in practice.
Despite my criticism I definitely do recommend this book to everyone who wants to get new ideas for retrospective activities and who wants to perform interesting and exciting retrospectives.
Lo utilizzo spesso per rinfrescare la memoria.
Da avere nella propria libreria AGILE!