Saturday, March 12, 2016

Execution of Retrospective in Kanban world

No No, don’t worry I am not going to bore you with the benefit of retrospective. Retrospective is great tool if done RIGHT. My last blog touches on done right point little bit and will do a deep dive into done right topic soon.

But right now, I am wondering about a perfect way to do retrospective for teams following Kanban. Yes! you read it right! PERFECT WAY. So thought of sharing my experience on the execution aspect of retrospective for teams following Kanban.

My teams in past have been engaged in retrospective ceremony in following way : 
  1. Regular 1 or 2 weeks cadence like the one scrum prescribes: Teams meet regularly and do their inspections in a regular rhythm. 
    1. Advantages: Team is taking time to think and focus on continuous improvement at regular intervals. 
    2. Disadvantage: Team members need to remember or recollect things on retrospective day.
  2. Retrospective Item (RILimit based Cadence: Teams will have chart on the wall in team room or in confluence or google doc to collect retrospective items. Specifying the RI LIMIT for the team.  Something similar to WIP Limit. Team would meet as soon the limit is met. We should always keep 2-3 weeks upper bound limit. i.e. if they can't reach their RI Limit in 3 weeks they should huddle around to discuss points for improvement.
    1. Advantages: Team controls the limit and does it, what feels right for them. My earlier team had done it and they kept the RI Limit to 3. The person writing 3rd item was responsible for scheduling a meeting on teams calendar. Agile Coach was responsible to remind them incase 2 or 3 weeks limit was broken.
    2. Disadvantage: Team members might miss the retrospective since there is no fix cadence. Team with very low maturity level might feel overwhelmed..
  3. Just in time Retrospective: Do it when you need it. Team members would call a meeting when they will feel the need of it. 
    1. Advantages: Team members have full autonomy to call for a meeting, whenever they feel the need of it. The topics are fresh in they mind and they can find better solution by discussing them. It comparatively takes less time but requires high disciplined team.
    2. Disadvantage: Same as earlier one, team members might miss the retrospective since there is no fix cadence. I would not suggest this style for any new team. This is definitely a good tool for mature and fully performing teams.
These are the three styles of retrospective cadence my teams have followed in past. Do share if you have tried something else and have worked well for your teams. I am trying to find a best way for distributed teams and my hunt is still on.

So long


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