Some people think that I’m a little bit crazy about how passionate I can be when it comes to retrospectives. I feel it’s an important event for organisations, teams, and individuals to reflect and adapt the things that they’re doing. I find it really strange, if not slightly contradictory when people, who enjoy practising agile, don’t necessarily believe in the value of retrospectives (but I don’t want to detail that thought just yet).
This week I’ve been fortunate enough to share, with my class, my passion for retrospectives and only had enough time to skim through all the ways that you can use them. What I unfortunately didn’t have enough time to cover was the ways that retrospectives may go wrong and, therefore, not be particularly useful for people.
When people misuse or misapply a particular tool, the people involved can, understandably, jump to the conclusion that the tool itself is terrible and a great waste of time. More often than not, I feel those people have shut their mind far too early, and don’t have enough of a chance to understand the contexts in which that tool may bring the greatest value. Sure, I’ve been through, and probably even hosted, quite a few ineffective retrospectives myself, but it doesn’t mean that the retrospective tool doesn’t offer any value.
To fill the gap that I missed with my students, I’m at least hoping to share with them (and everyone else on the web), my understanding about when retrospectives can go wrong.