Agile PM Process Grid-6.7 Retrospective Meeting

In the past series of blogs posts, I have gone over two other types of meetings that are included in process 6.7 which are done during each and every iteration:

  • the Daily Stand-Up Meeting (done every day of the iteration cycle)
  • the Review Meeting (done at the end of every iteration cycle)

As was mentioned in the previous post on the review meeting, it is a product-centric meeting, which focuses its energy outwards towards the customer and other stakeholders.   The Product Owner or the Customer/Proxy is the facilitator of that type of meeting.

The Retrospective Meeting, the focus of this post, on the other hand focuses its energy inwards towards the team, and is process-centric.    The Scrum Master is the facilitator of this type of meeting.

The purpose of the meeting is to create a shared understanding by the team of how they worked together and how that affected what they delivered to the customer.   The focus is NOT on personalities, but processes.   In order to keep the conversation as objective as possible, it is important to go into the retrospective meeting with the best available iteration metrics such as:

  • Features or stories completed vs. features or stories committed to
  • Team velocity during iteration as compared to the average
  • Any changes in team membership
  • Participation rate in daily stand-up meeting (should aim for 100%)
  • Data from burn charts

These data should be used to create a visual radiator of the iteration to make it easier fore the team to see any patterns.    The team should be asked to interpret the data shown in the visual radiator.

I like how John Stenbeck puts it in his book “PMI-ACP Exam Prep PLUS Desk Reference”:   he says it all boils down to answering the question:  was the team iteration exciting as hell or was everybody on the team wishing they could be extracted from hell?

The meeting should invite experiments with changes to processes during the next iteration which will improve the team’s interaction towards achieving the project goals.

Remember, even if it is a small, incremental change, it can significantly change the team’s performance if it compounded over several iterations!

This concludes the discussion of the meetings to be held during every iteration.   The last process related to team performance that is done during every iteration cycle is “Osmotic Communciation,” the subject of the next post.




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