About two weeks ago I presented my “Implementation of Scrum” presentation in Chuck Hoover’s Production and Leadership class. I mentioned that my sprint retrospectives did not feel very effective, since I wasn’t sure how to follow up on them afterwards.
You see, the way we did retrospectives was something I had learned from a second year producer. You get the huge sticky notes, write “What went well?” and “What didn’t go well?” on two of them, then spend some time thinking, get the group to write down their thoughts on their small coloured stickies and stick them on the big sheets. You then did the same with a giant sticky titled “Solutions”.
The problem was that we weren’t following up with the suggested solutions afterwards and we had no metrics by which to see whether the problems we had were being fixed. Chuck suggested to go over these in the next retrospective and check off which solutions were in place and what we still needed to work on. I did this the following week, but it didn’t seem like things were really being fixed, not many solutions were implemented and it was hard to measure their effects.
I decided that maybe the problem was not the implementation of solutions, but the lack of correlation between solutions and problems, or how the suggested solutions could really help the team. So, at today’s retrospective, I tried this new layout of “What didn’t go well?” and “Solutions”. These are now columns on the same big sticky, and we tried to come up with solutions that directly solved the things that didn’t go well the past week. Now, my team can see how putting certain solutions in place can help fix problems that came up in the past, and I hope this will motivate us to work at these solutions as well as feel a sense of purpose with them. Seems like a simple formatting change but I think it’ll serve us well.