A retrospective is anytime your team reflects on the past to improve the future. Between technical and non-technical teams, you can retro on just about anything! Right now, we're hosting a public retrospective on agile software development. Help define the future of agile by adding some of your ideas to our board.
Join the #RetroOnAgile conversation
Reflect on your software development by tweeting with #RetroOnAgile. Tell us one thing you like with #ILike, one thing you wish you could improve with #IWish, and one thing you'd like to see in the future with #WhatIf. Use the hundreds of responses below as inspiration. Your feedback will show up here within 24 hours.
Pro Tip: ^^^ Replace the question with your answer, leave the hashtags ;-)
#ILike - having iterative development and useful product for users early and often https://t.co/Q1G3SMJoAz #RetroOnAgile— Amy Patenaude (@LadyEngr802) April 16, 2018
#ILike the conversations that we have as a result of our agile process, which help us clarify assumptions and gaps in reasoning #RetroOnAgile— Esther Lucia (@NearSideSays) April 16, 2018
#ILike working smarter and seeing solutions evolve through collaboration #RetroOnAgile— Richard Coen (@RichardCoen9) April 13, 2018
If nothing else, I feel like I waste less time, using the agile process. I know within a few weeks, I'll get feedback on the direction I'm headed with a project. #RetroOnAgile— Shaun Cave (@Yungdaht) April 13, 2018
#ILike to help people grow and to watch teams develop from a bunch of individuals into a team that takes over responsibility #RetroOnAgile— Susanne Wesner (@SusanneWesner) April 13, 2018
#Ilike to work in a truly agile way. Enabling and empowering the teams is a powerful way to get your projects rolling. #RetroOnAgile— Nicolai Kohlbauer (@niggls) April 13, 2018
#ILike - that I can express myself based on agile principles and values #RetroOnAgile— Rose (@Mmallow91) April 13, 2018
#ILike The dent #agile methodology created in the software universe. https://t.co/VB1RLjxiDI #RetroOnAgile #Mozilla @DuckDuckGo @mozilla @Jira @Atlassian @TheASF— Aishwary Shrivastava (@toxicaishwary) April 13, 2018
#ILike to work in a interdisciplinary team. Working together with people from other fields toward a common business goal is an amazing experience. #RetroOnAgile— Rene Grohmann (@GrohmannRene) April 12, 2018
#ILike the Agile principles and values. #RetroOnAgile— Amy Neil (@MomofXandM) April 12, 2018
#ILike that the focus of software development has changed from deliver software to deliver value. #RetroOnAgile #agile— Ormycita (@mjormy) April 12, 2018
#ILike companies and CEOs like @peax_ch which are not afraid, to trust and to have confidence in their employees - giving them the chances to establish an agile culture to improve the development process #RetroOnAgile— Ivan (@IvanAschwanden) April 12, 2018
#RetroOnAgile is a way for my #clockit team to unwind and make the next sprint better. Works amazingly well and puts down everyone's guard. #Jira #ILike— ClockIt (@clockitio) April 12, 2018
#ILike - To see how team members have open and sincere conversations thinking together how to improve as a team #RetroOnAgile— Antonio Valle (G2) (@avallesalas) April 12, 2018
#ILike The way agile pushes you to question the way yo do things an helps you improve constantly #RetroOnAgile— Gonzalo Martín (@gmartinerro) April 12, 2018
#ILike - the willingness to continuously improve and try new things #RetroOnAgile— Matthew Ho (@inspiredworlds) March 27, 2018
#ILike that our agile process involves hypotheses, experimentation, measurement, and outcomes other than "we've shipped it". #RetroOnAgile— Mike Melnicki (@mikemelnicki) March 22, 2018
#ILike ability to change the direction, whenever it is reasonably justified #RetroOnAgile— Kayyak A.K.A kayyaK (@pwysota) March 21, 2018
#ILike the attitude that we never settle. In the spirit of Continuous Improvement we always look for ways to surpass our past achievements. #RetroOnAgile— Toivo Vaje (@ToivoVaje) January 26, 2018
#ILike that agile allows us to quickly react to changes in the SEO environment. SEO is always unpredictable to a degree. Agile comes with the necessary flexibility to adapt.#RetroOnAgile— Kevin_Indig (@Kevin_Indig) March 26, 2018
#ILike - Going experimental on our process by trying new things on a frequent basis and holding regular retrospectives to validate our experiments. #RetroOnAgile— Kent Gillenwater (@KentGillenH2O) March 22, 2018
#ILike that agile encourages teams to focus more on collaboration and outcomes, rather than tools and process #RetroOnAgile— Kevin Bui (@BuiWonder) March 22, 2018
#ILike that we have people from different knowledge areas working together, in one team, towards a shared outcome #RetroOnAgile— Kevin Bui (@BuiWonder) March 22, 2018
#ILike Our software team is starting to deliver software by working together #RetroOnAgile— GerbenH (@Sjampster) March 21, 2018
#ILike deep involvement and awareness of the team that gives unexpected valuable insights #RetroOnAgile— Nikita Martynov (@nikitokinito) February 22, 2018
#ILike that I can configure Jira to influence how are team runs agile, not just configure it to reflect how we already work. #RetroOnAgile— Bill Cushard (@billcush) February 14, 2018
#ILike measuring success by outcomes and not outputs #RetroOnAgile https://t.co/YVD5bX83kr— ʟᴜᴅɪᴠɪɴᴇ ꜱɪᴀᴜ (@lu_syo) February 6, 2018
#ILike that agile provides a means for saying "no" to the urgent, and empowers a team to focus on the important. We are an #agilemarketing team that runs scrum in #jira not a software dev team, for what that's worth. #RetroOnAgile— Bill Cushard (@billcush) February 14, 2018
#ILike transparency, united team and shared expectations #RetroOnAgile— Kote Khutsishvili (@kkhutsishvili) February 5, 2018
#ILike it when my team doesn't finish the #Agile Sprint objectives and I make them demo broken shit to all the stakeholders anyway, because of course, public shaming is a powerful motivator. Wait, did I say that out loud? #RetroOnAgile— Dan Chuparkoff (@Chuparkoff) January 31, 2018
#ILike that DevOps is a thing, just not the watered down “devs do ops” version many teams and companies adopt.#RetroOnAgile https://t.co/Twr8daFj3E— Dan Massey (@KinkSpring) January 10, 2018
#ILike Daily standups #RetroOnAgile— Dominik Bułaj (@DominikBulaj) January 17, 2018
#ILike #SpecificationByExample to build quality into software from the start. #RetroOnAgile— Ian Buchanan (@devpartisan) January 18, 2018
- #ILike the Accountability! #RetroOnAgile https://t.co/ZQEDd9TP3S— Ifrah Waqar (@IfrahWaqar) January 12, 2018
#ILike potential to set sprint goals small enough to present them on Sprint demo #RetroOnAgile— KuwałekDastin (@dastin_it) January 19, 2018
#ILike #noestimates and concentration on flow maximizing instead of resource efficiency. #RetroOnAgile— Toivo Vaje (@ToivoVaje) January 18, 2018
#ILike how Agile keeps my brother and I developing as fast we can #RetroOnAgile— Troy Taylor (@troystaylor) January 19, 2018
#ILike how we’ve embraced a mindset of solving customer problems to shape how we work over just shipping features. #RetroOnAgile— jeremyp (@PappJeremy) January 19, 2018
Retrospectives, not just on sprints and projects, but all that we do, are very valuable #justdoit #retroonagile https://t.co/BWJE1FLSUn— Andrew Kucharski (@akucharski) January 2, 2018
#ILike we pull up our Jira board during standups to make sure we stay on topic and talk about what we are actually working on. Makes it go faster as opposed to people trying to remember what they are working on #RetroOnAgile— Alex (@aortiz1989) January 24, 2018
#ILike it when we have a StandUp meeting and when the thing you say you are trying to finish today is already a JIRA ticket. #RetroOnAgile pic.twitter.com/0F1fDHeNpN— Dan Chuparkoff (@Chuparkoff) January 24, 2018
#ilike if my team was a little less, delivery focused; and a little more sprint focused. #RetroOnAgile— Tehseen (@syyed51) January 25, 2018
I like how scrum turns agile back into a heavyweight process with lots and lots of meetings, even when those meetings take place in Jira itself.— Rob Lang (@robbytwitin) January 20, 2018
#ILike it when tasks in a sprint can be completely done by a single person in less than 3 days. #RetroOnAgile— Dan Chuparkoff (@Chuparkoff) January 26, 2018
#IWish Agile was re-branded/re-named so people don't assume it means "work really fast without thinking". #RetroOnAgile— *｡･ﾟ✧｡Michelle･ﾟ✧｡･*ﾟ (@mvenetucci) April 14, 2018
#IWish - It was easier to work with scrum when you are doing devops as by the book you really can't https://t.co/IN3MEnbUf6 #RetroOnAgile— Mikael Nilsson (@LordNilsson) April 16, 2018
#iwish people would realise agile is not a switch you can turn on overnight #retroOnagile— Richard Coen (@RichardCoen9) April 16, 2018
#IWish more companies and people understood that Agile can be other methodologies besides Scrum #RetroOnAgile— Jackie Katsianas (@JackieK_) April 15, 2018
#IWish we could bring the whole company onto the agile practice #RetroOnAgile— Esther Lucia (@NearSideSays) April 16, 2018
#IWish for Agile we had interactive digital wall boards to use across sites and with people working remotely #RetroOnAgile— John Kirk (@JDKirk76) April 14, 2018
#IWish - Jira had a blocked status for all issue types, by default. https://t.co/QoOPxf4dys #RetroOnAgile— David Horton (@hortonda) April 16, 2018
#Iwish there was a broadly adopted standard for assigning and tracking tasks -- that worked across multiple platforms #retroonagile— F. Guess (@ms_g_austex) April 13, 2018
#IWish it would be easier to fuel the agile spirit from inside the teams to invest the energy from that better in good practices and software instead of having to discuss processes. #RetroOnAgile— Michael Benz (@focbenz) April 13, 2018
#Iwish for Enterprises to embrace change and and allow agile ways of working without fearing loss of power and control. #RetroOnAgile— Nicolai Kohlbauer (@niggls) April 13, 2018
#IWish - we would enable everyone to join and share our #agile methods and not only chosen ones #RetroOnAgile— Rose (@Mmallow91) April 13, 2018
#Iwish agile wasn't used for micro-management and witch-hunting in the work place #RetroOnAgile— I T E B A (@iteba) April 13, 2018
#IWish - I wish that being agile was given greater priority than doing agile https://t.co/gSR9z0esIu #RetroOnAgile— Dev (@DevChatters) April 12, 2018
#IWish we were beyond wondering "how to do Agile the right-way"… it's an idea to work towards vs something to attain quickly & easily #RetroOnAgile— Mark Opalski (@markopalski) April 12, 2018
#IWish for processes to work for the people, rather than the people working for the processes https://t.co/cdM03j1mZ6 #RetroOnAgile— Olivier Fortier (@ofortier) April 12, 2018
#IWish companies would not only use the buzzword agile to make the company more interesting to applicants but instead would really support the agile principles. #RetroOnAgile— Rene Grohmann (@GrohmannRene) April 12, 2018
#IWish - One thing I'd like to see improve is the use of Agile principles by leadership teams. https://t.co/iVBTiXeKcN #RetroOnAgile— Tina M Marquez (@TinaMMarquez) April 12, 2018
#IWish - What's one thing you wish you could improve about your agile practice? https://t.co/GW2FqwepfL #RetroOnAgile speed up test automation creation with CI/CD— YouScreenWriter.com (@YouScreenWriter) April 12, 2018
#IWish more folks followed the Agile principles and values rather than trying to hammer away on process and methodology. #RetroOnAgile— Amy Neil (@MomofXandM) April 12, 2018
#IWish— grumbly_frown (@grumbly_frown) April 13, 2018
Redraft those ridiculous, self-contradictory 12 commandments so they actually mean something useful
#IWish - Agile would be used more outside dev teams #RetroOnAgile— Alex Constantinescu (@alexluchian88) April 12, 2018
#RetroOnAgile #IWish there was more management-focused material available on the transition from waterfall to Agile.— Steve Harper (@Sharper_pm) April 12, 2018
#IWish companies were more aware of the kind of autonomy and discipline #agile requires #RetroOnAgile— Ormycita (@mjormy) April 12, 2018
#IWish - Teams respect Retros, do not skip them, make great contributions and integrate #Kaizen cycles when the problem to solve deserves it #RetroOnAgile— Antonio Valle (G2) (@avallesalas) April 12, 2018
#IWish Agile could be accepted company-wise, and not only in dev teams. #RetroOnAgile— Gonzalo Martín (@gmartinerro) April 12, 2018
#IWish - Card movement and comments actually talked to my chat client; not my email, not a room #RetroOnAgile— Josh Smith (@joshsmith01) April 12, 2018
#IWish - I wish to have epics progress bars - they would help in #agile https://t.co/DrY9OC7qOu #RetroOnAgile— Oleksandr (@Oleksan23251466) April 12, 2018
#IWish - Agile development would take pity on documentation and QA teams, being more specific about how to accommodate doc and test within a sprint. #RetroOnAgile— BarbaraLGreen (@BarbaraLGreen) April 11, 2018
#IWish - What's one thing you wish you could improve about your #agile practice? https://t.co/M8fBklybbH #RetroOnAgile I wish we could stop the "Agile my way" practices that are not really Agile.— Gilaine Schneider (@Theodora26) April 11, 2018
#RetroOnAgile #IWish team members could accept the mindset of Agile more than the method argument.— Marty Talbott (@TalbottMD) April 10, 2018
#iwish to spend less time on Jira to get the desired information and more time doing my job. #RetroOnAgile— Franck Grimonpont (@chtitter) April 13, 2018
#IWish - we could talk to more teams internally and externally about how to improve our agile practices and how they do their best work #RetroOnAgile— Matthew Ho (@inspiredworlds) March 27, 2018
#IWish the agile community would explore new techniques for project estimation since story points and planning poker is not cutting it. Possibly this? -> https://t.co/1EX2bWE8Ys #RetroOnAgile— Mike Melnicki (@mikemelnicki) March 22, 2018
#IWish companies, teams, evangelisers, etc. would not use Agile as #buzz and #MagicWand, but indeed maintain culture #RetroOnAgile— Kayyak A.K.A kayyaK (@pwysota) March 21, 2018
#IWish it would be easier to sell #agile development. There’s still too much upfront planning and too little adapting to new information. #RetroOnAgile— Toivo Vaje (@ToivoVaje) January 18, 2018
#IWish to show pull requests in #Confluence #RetroOnAgile— Ghost (@Ghost_MAL) March 29, 2018
#IWish more SEOs in the industry would embrace the agile methodology and step away from the waterfall model.#RetroOnAgile— Kevin_Indig (@Kevin_Indig) March 26, 2018
#IWish "agile" wasn't such a scary word to teams and companies that haven't embraced it #RetroOnAgile— Kevin Bui (@BuiWonder) March 22, 2018
Ok #IWish that we would focus less on tools and more on interactions and communication #RetroOnAgile 😀— Peter Sandberg (@patelikestotalk) January 26, 2018
#IWish there was another kind of Agile besides just Scrum and Kanban. #RetroOnAgile— Dan Chuparkoff (@Chuparkoff) January 28, 2018
#IWish there was a shared, ethical definition of “done done” for ML/AI features in agile projects.#RetroOnAgile https://t.co/Twr8daFj3E— Dan Massey (@KinkSpring) January 10, 2018
#IWish my past experience of Agile had not made me wary of self-proclaimed "Agile Advocates" #RetroOnAgile— ʟᴜᴅɪᴠɪɴᴇ ꜱɪᴀᴜ (@lu_syo) February 6, 2018
#Iwish jira could make coffee #RetroOnAgile pic.twitter.com/y8pQsqpmul— gonelf (@gonelf) March 7, 2018
#IWish Jira could make customizing release notes simpler #RetroOnAgile— Krishnanand Nayak (@pedavan) March 7, 2018
#iwish I could have a better view of all projects, including sorting, prioritisation, labeling, and client assigning. #RetroOnAgile— Darren Pinder (@dmpinder) March 7, 2018
#IWish - A less clunky mechanism for injecting 'Business as Usual' into the development stream. #RetroOnAgile— Kent Gillenwater (@KentGillenH2O) March 22, 2018
#IWish JIRA tied usability defects to their originating story, and easily graphed it, so Agile teams could focus on usability. #RetroOnAgile pic.twitter.com/It0NAcb9Bo— Jerome (@JeromeR) January 18, 2018
#Iwish to have more advance functions in jql.— Loshy Chandran (@loshyc) March 7, 2018
ADFS authenticatin - please release id-79 asap.
#IWish the assignee could be shared among team members, so that pair programming can be planned in advance 😀 #RetroOnAgile— Rick Patci (@ThePatci) January 18, 2018
- #IWish Retrospective would magically appear linked to related issues in the new sprint and help overcome scope creep! #RetroOnAgile https://t.co/w6c4gOddfk— Ifrah Waqar (@IfrahWaqar) January 22, 2018
#IWish we could keep TLMs from degenerating into program managers. #RetroOnAgile— Juni Mukherjee (@JuniTweets) January 23, 2018
"When agile shops were first being established, an important consideration was to keep TLMs from having full visibility into any one agile team." https://t.co/32eiK5ih9a
#IWish @JIRA would let me story point my sub-tasks and roll up the points. Purist is not always pragmatic. #RetroOnAgile— Kyle Rozendo (@RozendoZA) January 23, 2018
#IWish Consensus would work always. Sadly, the voting environment could get polluted. #RetroOnAgile— Juni Mukherjee (@JuniTweets) January 23, 2018
"Even though agile rests on collaboration, the 'agreement by consensus' model has it’s share of flaws, depending on the who, the what, and the when." https://t.co/32eiK5ih9a pic.twitter.com/9X7dFon0RV
#IWish people would move their sub-tasks along the Agile board without having to be reminded #RetroOnAgile— Diana MacPherson (@dianamacpherson) January 23, 2018
#IWish Teams won't declare agile victory prematurely by merely doing stand-ups.— Juni Mukherjee (@JuniTweets) January 23, 2018
Unless we invest in:
a) a single prioritized backlog
b) KPIs and a DoD that we can get behind, and
c) feel empowered,
standing up won't help. We might as well sit and do some work. #RetroOnAgile pic.twitter.com/3ou448YLbw
#IWish that stakeholders, peer-reviewers, & quality team-members could star an assignee's work on a ticket. #RetroOnAgile pic.twitter.com/9tqkpSGgyP— Dan Chuparkoff (@Chuparkoff) January 24, 2018
#IWish Jira was fast— Bastien Billey 🇫🇷 (@billey_b) January 24, 2018
#iwish @jira has "hide fields" option. It is issue-secured now but not field-secured. #RetroOnAgile— Rajinikanth (@Demiracer) January 21, 2018
It would be super awesome to allow my customers to vote on JIRAs without eating up a license for login #RetroOnAgile @JIRA #JiraOnDemand https://t.co/Yj2fwz7DQq— Eddie Weakley (@3weakley) January 6, 2018
#retroonagile I wish people played as a team. No aggressive jira Tix allowed— Sean Regan (@seanjregan) January 25, 2018
#IWish there was out-of-the-box integration between my automated unit tests and the columns of my scrum board. #RetroOnAgile— Dan Chuparkoff (@Chuparkoff) January 31, 2018
#IWish we are not surprised that the feature does not work during demo and be more in control #RetroOnAgile— GerbenH (@Sjampster) March 21, 2018
#WhatIf we could make our agile board three dimensional? What other dimension would we add? #RetroOnAgile— Esther Lucia (@NearSideSays) April 16, 2018
#WhatIf The whole company practiced Agile, not just the developers? What would our teams look like? What could our teams accomplish? #RetroOnAgile— Nicole Gagliardi (@_nlg_) April 13, 2018
#WhatIf #agile teams wouldn't loose the big picture due to a flatened backlog, and be reminded how #UserStories are interrelated (e.g. from #UX point of view or from #BusinessProcess perspective) ? #RetroOnAgile— Christophe THIERRY (@chthierry) April 13, 2018
#Whatif we dare to trust and take the prime directive seriously not only for retro but for every day live #RetroOnAgile— Susanne Wesner (@SusanneWesner) April 13, 2018
#Whatif the agile way of getting things done would be taught very early on and would be the core of the way we get things done? #RetroOnAgile— Nicolai Kohlbauer (@niggls) April 13, 2018
#whatif, The way I seek Agile working in the next few years is having to accommodate BOT coders as part of the squad and dealing with BOT communication too #RetroOnAgile— Duane Gomes (@GomesDuane) April 12, 2018
#WhatIf Some agile techniques were taught early in schools so kids could benefit from them and learn how to plan their homework efficiently #RetroOnAgile— Gonzalo Martín (@gmartinerro) April 12, 2018
#whatIf certifications weren't the criteria for hiring #agile practitioners #RetroOnAgile— Ormycita (@mjormy) April 12, 2018
I’d replace the word software with product in the manifesto #RetroOnAgile— Matthew Evans (@matthewevansrec) April 13, 2018
#WhatIf - We get so used to automation that we forget that bots do not participate in retros? #RetroOnAgile— Antonio Valle (G2) (@avallesalas) April 12, 2018
#WhatIf we didn't try to manage multiple products at once on multiple boards with a single #Agile team? #RetroOnAgile— le Violon Chocolat (@ViolonChocolat) April 12, 2018
#WhatIf there was one menu where you could easily navigate between boards in JIRA? #RetroOnAgile— Melissa Gill (@lligassilem) April 12, 2018
#WhatIf we ran daily sprints? would we have daily retros? #RetroOnAgile— Matthew Ho (@inspiredworlds) March 27, 2018
#WhatIf the software industry moved from delivery of projects to delivery of outcomes? https://t.co/btLBb3fhU4 #RetroOnAgile @Atlassian— Mike Melnicki (@mikemelnicki) March 22, 2018
#WhatIf every user story was treated as an experiment and it's impact easily measured #RetroOnAgile— Kent Gillenwater (@KentGillenH2O) March 22, 2018
#WhatIf we would keep agility rather that DO Agile? Plus we should mind that it require a lot of self-discipline. #RetroOnAgile— Kayyak A.K.A kayyaK (@pwysota) March 21, 2018
#WhatIf Scrum and Kanban weren't the only ways to be agile? #RetroOnAgile— Kevin Bui (@BuiWonder) March 22, 2018
#WhatIf we collectively decided that Sprints were, at most, one day from start to finish. #ContinuousAgile #YourStandupIsAlreadyYourPlanningMeetingAndYourDemo #RetroOnAgile— Dan Chuparkoff (@Chuparkoff) February 1, 2018
#WhatIf SEOs would work in agile sprints like developers?#RetroOnAgile— Kevin_Indig (@Kevin_Indig) March 26, 2018
#WhatIf humans just be humans and bots did all the technical (or remaining) stuff (or vice-versa?) #RetroOnAgile— Homero Leal (@homerojleal) March 22, 2018
#WhatIf DevOps was its own Value Stream?#RetroOnAgile— A9 Group, Inc. (@a9consulting) January 2, 2018
#WhatIf we stopped worrying about whether tools, practices, or people are Agile or not, and instead kept an open mind about new ideas that can help us work better together. #RetroOnAgile— Ian Buchanan (@devpartisan) January 24, 2018
#whatif we stopped using “agile” as a fucking noun. #RetroOnAgile— Charles Miller (@carlfish) January 6, 2018
#Whatif we could say in 12 months from know that 2018 was the year when #agile was eventually applied to business at large – on all levels, beyond software projects? #RetroOnAgile https://t.co/lyylkPgNeV— swarmOS (@swarmOS_de) January 10, 2018
#WhatIf the agile community treated security and privacy as seriously as they treat daily stand-ups?#RetroOnAgile https://t.co/Twr8daFj3E— Dan Massey (@KinkSpring) January 10, 2018
#WhatIf there were no estimations??? What a Merry Christmas it would be!! #RetroOnAgile https://t.co/j9zmtrcXvz— John Funk (@jmfunk87) January 20, 2018
#WhatIfEverybodyMovedToKanban #RetroOnAgile Kanban has changed our processes and efficiency for the better.— John Funk (@jmfunk87) January 2, 2018
#WhatIf we stopped trying to make Agile fit with top-down management, budget-driven planning, and feature-bloated products? #RetroOnAgile— Ian Buchanan (@devpartisan) January 12, 2018
#WhatIf(Companies stopped investing on precise projects scope and rather invested in trusting capable agile teams who will deliver value continuously?) #RetroOnAgile— Adil Chahid (@AdilusPrimus) January 30, 2018
#WhatIf a user could report a ticket in one language and @Atlassian's Jira could show it to the team in a second language? #RetroOnAgile pic.twitter.com/qPWDfpgcMG— Dan Chuparkoff (@Chuparkoff) January 25, 2018
#WhatIf @Atlassian's JIRA could use estimate the probability that a checked in block of code would get reopened based on machine-learned, correlated factors. #RetroOnAgile pic.twitter.com/vQ8DTrzrWm— Dan Chuparkoff (@Chuparkoff) January 26, 2018
Why run a retrospective?
In 2001, with the stroke of a pen, the agile retrospective was born. The last of the twelve principles of agile development reads as follows:
"At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly."
The agile manifesto makes it clear: In order to best live the agile values, teams should meet reguarly to check in and make adjustments. Most commmonly, development teams apply this principle by hosting regular retrospective meetings, and while that meeting is the focus of much of this page, it's not the only way to retro.
More recently, the concept of retrospectives has made it's way out of development teams and into all facets of business and teamwork.
I know marketing teams that retro on campaigns, management teams that retro on large presentations, and above, Atlassian is hosting a retrospective on their entire industry. This openness to retrospecives, and their proliferation into all facets of business, is something to get incredibly excited about.
The reason to get excited about retrospectives is that they are where the agile rubber hits the road. So many of the core concepts in the agile manifesto are reinforced through retrospecitve meetings. Consider the following values:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Responding to change over following a plan
At face value, this is what a retro is all about: Working with real people to make changes and improvements. Few things reinforce agile principles better. Now that we know why retrospectives are so important, read on and learn how to host a meeting on your own.
And don't forget, we do retrospectives to make things better, so if you're into agile, participate in our #RetroOnAgile and help define the future of software development.
Stay abreast of the #RetroOnAgile and other agile trends
The retrospective meeting
Retrospectives are an excellent opportunity for your agile team to evaluate itself and create a plan to address areas of improvement for the future. The retrospective embraces the ideal of continuous improvement - and protects against the pitfalls of complacency - by stepping outside the work cycle to reflect on the past:
The purpose of the retrospective meeting is to:
- Evaluate how the last sprint, iteration, or work item went, specifically around the team dynamic, processes, and tools.
- Articulate and stack rank the items that went well, and those items that did not.
- Create and implement a plan for improving the way the team does work.
The retrospective provides a safe place to focus on introspection and adaptation. In order for retrospectives to be successful, there needs to be a supportive atmosphere that encourages (but doesn’t force) all team members to contribute.
The retrospective should be a positive, energizing experience for your team. It helps team members share important feedback, let go of frustrations, and work together to come up with solutions. Facilitators can also get a lot from the retrospective, including a better understanding of how the team works together and what challenges (and successes) they experienced in the last sprint. A successful retrospective results in a list of improvements that team members take ownership of and work toward in the next sprint.
How to run your first retrospective
While it can be beneficial to vary the format of the retrospective (more on that below!), certain aspects like timing, attendees, and general format should remain as consistent as possible.
For agile teams working in the traditional two week sprint, the retrospective should take place at the end of every sprint. For teams running a more Kanban-esque style of work, a monthly or quarterly retrospective may make more sense. It's also healthy to engage members of the broader leadership after major initiatives have been rolled out; be careful to focus not on what was delivered, but rather on how the team worked together produce it.
Plan to spend at least thirty minutes, and up to an hour, depending on how long the sprint is and how much you have to cover.
Every team member should attend the retrospective, with a facilitator leading the discussion. The facilator can be the scrum master, product owner, or it can rotate throughout the team. Feel free to pull in designers, marketers, or anyone else who contributed to the current sprint or iteration.
There are several ways to mix up your retrospective (which we’ll discuss below), but here’s a basic template for retrospective meetings:
- Create a short list of things that worked well and things that could be improved. This list can be created on a whiteboard, on an Atlassian Confluence page, or maybe even sticky notes on the wall! No matter where you capture the initial feedback, be sure to memorialize it right after the meeting so it can be referenced down the road.
- Prioritize this list by importance as a team. You may discover common themes, which can be grouped together.
- Discuss ways and tactics to improve the top two items on the "room for improvement" list. Focus on outcomes, not actions or people, or the past.
- Create an action plan. By the end of the session, the team should have produced a few actionable ideas with clear owners and due dates to address the areas of improvement.
- Be disciplined about executing #4. Nothing is more frustrating than repeating the same roadblocks in every retro. Avoid stagnation (and frustration!) by making sure everyone walks away with clear next steps. Each action item identified in the retro should have a clear owner who follows it through to completion.
Because variety is the spice of life
Standardizing your retrospective is a good idea to create consistency and to build trust amongst the team over time. But there are a few "tweaks" facilitators can try that may help uncover additional insights, encourage participation from new team members, or simply keep it interesting.
Bring in an outside facilitator. Typically retrospectives are run by the scrum Master or project lead, but you may want to consider bringing in a guest to facilitate your next retro. The dynamic may shift in a positive way by having someone with no "skin in the game" lead the discussion. Moreover, this strategy enables someone else within the organization to observe how other agile teams are working and may pick up some best practices for his or her own team.
Vary the list prompts. At the end of the day, the retrospective is meant to uncover what's working and what's not. Consider these different prompts:
- Start / Stop / Continue: What the team should start doing, stop doing, and continue doing. Focus on ways to discontinue items in the "Stop" column.
- More / less: What the team needs to do more and less of. Create a plan around how to tackle the top items in the "do less" list.
- Glad / Sad / Mad: What made the team glad, sad, and mad. You guessed it, focus on the sad and mad lists and how to improve so there are only items in the glad column next time.
Engage leadership. After a major project has been rolled out, schedule an hour with a member of your leadership team and focus on how the team worked together (not particulars of how the initiative went).
There are plenty of ways to improve, so don’t hesitate to find some new tricks of your own. Whether you’re trying to engage a distributed team or improve a retro process that has stagnated, the key is to keep your team engaged and make the results actionable.
Join the conversation!
Now that you know the basics of running a retrospective, we'd love to hear from you about your team's retrospectives. Start your tweet with I like “I wish” or “What if” and you may just see your feedback on our virtual board above! Join the conversation →
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