I was reminded yesterday of the power of retrospectives, even in the context of non-agile software delivery teams. I have recently worked with a programme team who are building a five-year business case (quite a world away from software delivery and one would argue, very waterfall-like). Fortunately, several people have been very open to seeing how agile works in their environment so I facilitated a retrospective looking back over several months.
During the retrospective, we uncovered a number of typical issues that groups encounter: visibility of work, differences in how work should be approached, and general puzzles about the organisation. Better yet, the group came out with concrete steps towards making incremental improvements and an excitement and appreciation for the retrospective practice, something I was particularly pleased by.
Although there are other ways of achieving the same goals, it reminded me of how effective retrospectives create a safe space to discuss and address issues and create a better working environment. Better yet, retrospectives work for everyone, not just for agile teams.