- Paperback: 268 pages
- Publisher: Dorset House (February 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0932633447
- ISBN-13: 978-0932633446
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,164,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews Paperback – February 1, 2001
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Project Retrospectives are review and improvement sessions which the project team does at the end of a project. A typical project retrospective takes a couple of days. During these days, there are a bunch of retrospective exercises which can be follows (and are described in the book). These exercises create a safe environment, help the project team remember the past and help them learn from it. An retrospective is not done properly if it doesn't also result in some improvement actions.
I've used Norm's exercises in my own retrospectives and they work exceptionally well. This book is therefore a treasure of practical advise. If you feel uncomfortable when reading the first description (as some exercises might), try not to discard the exercise, but try it out. Often you will learn and find that they work surprisingly good.
In the world of Agile Development, retrospectives have become an essential part of any agile method. These retrospectives are iteration retrospectives (or heartbeat retrospectives). They are shorter, but the ideas are the same. Much of Norm's exercises can also be used in that context.
As mentioned earlier, a must read for anyone serious in product development.
The things I liked about the book: First, Project Retrospectives covers the topic completely in a very concise and readable way. You will find everything you need to know in this book in how to get started, how to be or find a facilitator, how to plan the retrospective, how to conduct the sessions - including a generous number of effective exercises, how to sell the concept of retrospectives to management and how to apply the lessons learned in an organization.
Second, I like the way that Kerth dealt openly and honestly with real world issues that surround project activities such as retrospectives that are often seen by management as "extras." Kerth treats this topic with integrity and basically advises that if you can't do the retrospective right, don't do it at all - or at least wait until you can do it right. I never had to try to separate theory from practice as I read the book - it was all practical.
Finally, I enjoyed the clear train of thought throughout the book, along with specific examples and case studies. I never had to wonder where Kerth was going with a thought.
It is time that we as software professionals make a ritual of reflecting on what we do and how effective we have been. In a profession where we try all too often to apply a single solution to many problems, the activity of project retrospectives can be a major force to improve the overall quality of projects. I highly recommend Project Retrospectives to project managers, consultants, QA analysts or anyone else wishing to be an agent of change in their organizations for higher software project quality.