Retrospectives help to drive the entire process improvement effort, especially in terms of defining application lifecycle management (ALM). This may not seem apparent at first, but your ALM must define the steps required to achieve success and solve problems. Retrospectives are very effective at helping us to understand exactly what went well and what needs to be improved. ALM should be defined in an Agile iterative way. Process improvement is hard. But, identifying the processes supporting the application lifecycle are critical for your success. So how exactly do you go about achieving these goals? The most basic retrospective involves an open and honest discussion on what went well and what needs to be improved.The most basic retrospective involves an open and honest discussion on what went well and what needs to be improved.
What went well?
Starting with the positive and upbeat discussion of what went well is often essential for a successful retrospective. Obviously, putting people on the defensive doesn’t motivate anyone to be open and honest about mistakes made and things that could be improved. I have found that asking people about what went well, often helps them to feel comfortable talking about what needs to be improved. It is important anyway to identify what went well for a number of reasons. The first is that you do not want to fix something that is not broken. The second is that it is important to avoid making invalid assumptions that result in heading off in the wrong direction.
What can be improved?
The answer is usually that there is much room for improvement. Retrospectives conducted well are an essential tool in continuous process improvement. In coming articles, I will discuss how to structure and run an effective retrospective.
What do you believe works well in a retrospective? What are the things that should be avoided (e.g. finger pointing)? Please share your views and opinions!
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