Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Multiple team retrospective

This is an adapted retrospective format to suit retrospecting within teams and cross teams in environments where multiple teams work on the same or integrated products in close proximity or have shared code.

I have used this type of retrospective in two variations in different companies. It worked fairly well and I'd recommend it when you have multiple teams doing very short (e.g. 1/2 week) iterations when it is important to keep the length short.
The timings below are for 1 week iterations. If you find time is not enough you can increase as appropriate.

You need 1 section per team on your white boards plus a section for joint retro items.
Here is the agenda:

1. Check-in [3 minutes] - this is where everyone is invited to give short feedback about the iteration (e.g. 3 words). I sometimes skip it depending on the context.
2. Previous retro actions review [2 minutes] usually no more than 5-6 items, quick review of any progress made.
3. Work in teams [15-20 minutes]- ask every team to generate their retro items - you can use various options - most commonly I use 'what went well' and 'what can be improved'. Ask teams to vote for their items and bring to the joint board only those items that seem to be cross team. Also ask them to identify maximum of 3 actions.
4. Bring it together [5-10 minutes] - ask a representative from each team to announce their 'went well' items and their actions and also to bring their team's proposed joint items.
5. Based on the number of joint items either discuss all (if 3-4 max) or ask the team to vote and pick the top 3. This could take 2-3 minutes.
6. [10 minutes] Discuss the selected items and identify any cross team actions.
7. Close the retrospective - you could either do a quick heartbeat retro or ask everyone to vote on how good the retro was and perhaps pick a few not so good to give you feedback.

That's all - I hope I'll be able to add pictures soon.

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