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In their book Esther and Diana provide a huge list of different activities for shaping diversified retrospectives and keeping the retrospectives exciting and thrilling.
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.
Si vous pratiquez des rétrospectives d'équipes depuis un certain temps (les phases d'inspection et d'adaptation du lean ou de l'agile) ou que vos réunions de projet en cycle traditionnel deviennent pénibles (comprendre tout le monde s'endort), ce livre est fait pour vous. Esther Derby et Diana Larsen passent en revue une trentaine d'activités distinctes pour animer vos points réguliers, et vous tiennent par la main pour le faire autour de cinq axes principaux. Une fois que vous aurez assimilé ce livre, vos rétrospectives ne seront plus jamais ennuyeuses. Jamais !
Techniques called “agile” comprise a more iterative approach to developing software. In many ways, it treats software as an open text instead of a fixed product. Agile development is used in most leading software shops around the world. This book treats a specific element of agile development – the retrospective. After each iteration or release, the team is gathered to discuss the last period of time and to seek improvement for the next time.
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.
This book has a lot activities to manage a retrospective meeting in software development, but I think some of techniques are not only effective in agile projects, you can use some of them in team management to give and receive feedback. Sadly the book has few examples about retrospective meetings and I expected to know more about how to manage different situations than what activities I should use.
This year, I found myself leading an agile development team. While I've been in the software industry for several decades, I'm new to agile. I was lucky enough to attend the Agile 2007 conference, where I participated in a session with Esther Derby and Diana Larsen. That's where I first learned about retrospectives - from the co-authors of this book.
First, the idea of retrospectives, as opposed to post-mortems (are our projects really dead?), as an ongoing process is challenging and exciting. Rather than waiting until the end, reviewing not just progress but the state of the team makes great sense.
Then, the way that they put it all together - stating the value of the process, giving an outline for how to conduct a retrospective - makes it something you can indeed do right from the book.
But as much as anything, the exercises/activities that make up a large part of this book are a tremendous value. Rather than trying to figure out "what should we do/say in a retrospective?", we are guided through combinations of activities to help us achieve the most effective results.
And it's not just about agile. While the concept has developed through the growth of agile development practices, this is a tool that can benefit any organization of any type doing anything.
It's a quick read with benefits that far outweigh the time it takes to read it. Ready to change the life of your organization? Introduce retrospectives.
The book is a collection of activities. Some are meh, some or good, and a few are great. From the ~50 in the book my team is already doing two of them and there is about three or four I might try. I think the problem is the book is getting a bit dated. Most of the activities involve flip charts, stickers, and markers and would take some work to translate to meeting rooms with multiscreen.