Teams adopting agile, and even frequently teams who consider themselves agile, often hit a stumbling block. Here’s how the thinking goes… agile is about improvement. Agile projects do retrospective to improve. Therefore, retrospectives = improvement and improvements (only) happen in retrospectives.
Unfortunately many teams suffer without realising improvements go beyond retrospectives. Everyday there is an opportunity to improve, an opportunity to learn. It sometimes takes a while to see them. It often takes much longer to unwind the restraints of organisational “process” on people’s desires to experiment and fail fast, and learn from those mistakes.
Don’t get me wrong. Retrospectives also have their place. Sometimes teams don’t have an environment safe enough and retrospectives are one way of helping establish some safety. It takes commitment from leaders to create this environment of safety, and something I encourage greatly when I work with teams.
Do you recognise your team falling in this pattern? Break out of them, and remind them that improvements don’t have to wait for a meeting to be attempted.