Agile or Not – Retrospectives is key!

As human beings, it is our nature to learn. We start learning when we are small, we learn as we grow up, and even as adults. We learn about life – to make decisions. We learn more – to make better decisions than previously. We do it all the time. It’s our nature. We are hardwired with this skill.

Regardless how natural this come to us when it’s about daily life, and only ourselves involved, it becomes something extremely difficult, for many many people when we put ourselves in a workplace together with other people.

This could be the result of “management” – The command and control kind of management, that manages and control people. It kills initiative from individuals and it kills creativity.  Which again will result in poor performance, for the individual, the team, the department and the company.

If you have been studying “agile”, whether it’s Scrum, Kanban, SAFe or any other agile framework, you will notice that when you cut it to the bone, it’s all about creating environment for – you guessed it – learning. It is about learning as an individual, a team, a department or an entire organisation, learning about  your product, learning about your work processes. Learning, so you can make better decisions in the future.

Implementing an agile framework prove to be “not as easy as it sounds”. Not because it is of no value, but because it requires change. Change in behavior, change in mindset, organisational changes and more.

Maybe you have tried agile methods and found “it wasn’t for you”, maybe you are already in the process of implementing agile methods, or maybe you just don’t see the point. Nevertheless I believe you would like, your team would like and/or your organisation would like learning to make better decisions in the future. Luckily there is a very powerful tool, which you can implement regardless of which agile framework you are using or not using.

It is called “Retrospective”.

It is a powerful tool which is about gathering people, for a fixed period of time and have them reflect upon and learn about “they way we work”, and based on that decide small things that can be done differently next time. And then keep doing it.

If will foster individual initiative. It will boost creativity. Empowering people through well conducted retrospectives will eventually make you team, department, product, projects and/or organisations better. Nice!

To get started you need:

Doing retrospectives does not solve your problems by it self. But it will help you uncover known and unknown circumstances that have impact on whether you perform good or bad. Based on your findings (learning), you can decide on what to do differently.

Let’s call off Scrum!

A software development team, had been “doing Scrum” for years, since it was decided that Scrum was the “way to go”. A classic. All meetings were conducted, but gave no or little value. It was just accepted like “that’s what happens when Scrum meets reality”. Failed sprints were the standard, frustrations were building and unfortunate leadership mecanisms were “needed” to get things done.

When I was appointed as the ScrumMaster, I quickly realised that I had to do something drastically to gain the team’s trust to Scrum, and to build the team’s trust in me, as a ScrumMaster. Especially because I do not have a developer background. I had to relaunch Scrum in a way I had never tried before…

So I said: “Let’s call off Scrum!”

Continue reading “Let’s call off Scrum!”