I’ve been interviewing ScrumMaster candidates lately and I like to ask about retrospective techniques. Specifically, I ask the candidate “what types of retrospective techniques do you use for a new team as they adopt the Scrum framework? Do you have any favorites?” I ask this question for 3 reasons:
- In my opinion, retrospectives are the most important meeting in Scrum;
- It gives you a sense of the ScrumMaster’s creativity; and
- It gives you a sense of the ScrumMaster’s depth of knowledge.
I’ve been disappointed to discover that most of the ScrumMasters I’ve interviewed only say that they ask the standard:
- What went well?
- What didn’t go well?
- What can we improve?
Sure, that’s a valid answer and an awesome place for new teams to start, but those same questions get boring really quickly. In addition, no one I have interviewed lately has mentioned the MOST important question to ask…what did we learn!
There are many great retrospective ideas out in the Agile community, including variations and additions on the basic questions and creative facilitation techniques. ScrumMasters should develop a toolkit of retrospective techniques that they can use and adapt with their teams.
Here are 10 retrospective ideas that you can add to your Scrum toolkit.
- Liked, learned, lacked, longed for (4 L’s)
- Starfish (small, large)
- Stop, start, continue
- Mad, sad, glad
- Token of appreciation
- One word retrospective
- KALM (Keep, add, more, less)
- and when you have no idea what to do…just use lean coffee style
Need more retrospective ideas? Check out the retrospectives portion of my Agile resources page.
Oh…and PS…please don’t forget the prime directive.
September 10, 2016 at 3:56 pm
Yes, I agree. You have to get creative with retros. I’ve been on too many teams where everyone asked, “What’s the point of these? Things never get better!” I’ve had to experiment a lot. I remember some that just turned out awful, awful, awful and the next thing I knew I was in my supervisor’s office a few times. Then I’ve had some good ones. Best technique I have had was retro the retro. What did the team like about the retro? What could we skip next time? What did they want to keep. What do they want to try next time? Great post!