Endless Blessings for Your Team

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 1 Filed Under: Teams Retrospectives Meetings

Recently, I read an interview between Bernie DeKoven (who has aliases as varied as: Major Fun, The Shaman of Play, and more) and Barry Joseph (Associate Director For Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives, at the American Museum of Natural History). While the whole interview is delightful, and I recommend it, I was particularly struck by the game called “The Out Blessing Game” or “Endless Blessings.”

Agile & Retrospective

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 1 Filed Under: Agile Retrospectives

Steve Berczuk writes a short and succinct article on TechWell describing, “Why Agile Retrospectives are Important in Software Development.” I’m looking forward to reading the comments and responses he gets. More and more I think of Agile Retrospectives as an opportunity for the kind of learning that leads to real adaptive action in complex situations.

Retrospectives: A Tool For Continuous Improvement

Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile Teams Coaching Retrospectives Meetings

Many leaders focus on improving productivity and performance. Leaders who support regular retrospectives gain an effective organizational learning tool that guides project teams (and ongoing work groups) to reflect on their technical, human and organizational systems that affect performance. A well-facilitated retrospective gathers together significant project stakeholders (including the development team members and other critical players) to review their project experience, learn from the experience, and take action to improve - in the next iteration, the next release, and for all future projects.

Does your organization utilize retrospectives as part of its project management goals? If not, here are some simple...

Set the Stage with Check-ins

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 1 Filed Under: Retrospectives

Coincidence is a funny thing. Have you noticed that some topic/issue/concept/activity will come up in your life, then for a while you bump into it everywhere? Happens to me all the time. Lately, I’ve been bumping into new ideas for check-in activities, and reminders about familiar ones.

Adaptive Action Method: An HSD Retrospective

Author: Staff Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile Teams Retrospectives Human Systems Dynamics

Diana has written previously about the Human Systems Dynamics Institute and their excellent program that provides models and methods for dealing with our VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world of complex adaptive human systems. In this post she focuses on the HSD Adaptive Action model and its unexpected connection to retrospectives:

In 2006 Esther and I introduced a Flexible Framework for Agile Retrospectives, a series of stages for designing effective retrospectives: Set the Stage; Gather Data; Generate Insights; Decide What to Do; and Close the Retrospective. We recommended a recurring cycle of retrospectives after each iteration as a process for the team to "reflect, tune and adjust", as the Agile Manifesto principle decrees.

Project Weather

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile Teams Developing People Retrospectives

Add "Project Weather" to your retrospective design to both "Set the Stage" and "Close the Retrospective". As an opening, it provides a useful segue into creating a shared story and begins the process of gathering data. As a closing, it illustrates any shifts in team members' perspectives that have occurred as a result of their collaboration in the retrospective.

To Prepare:

Create a pre-drawn flip chart with a heading at the top: Project Weather. Add hand drawn graphics across the top, like a sun coming out from behind clouds, clouds and rain, or even the occasional tornado! Divide the flip chart...

Retrospectives and Double-Loop Learning

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Retrospectives

Over at her "Insights You Can Use" blog Esther Derby has posted two pieces on how teams can benefit from the lens of Double Loop Learning in their retrospectives. Chris Argyris first wrote about the concept of single and double loop learning in the 1970's. Esther offers a specific application for Agile teams with:

A short essay, "Promoting Double Loop Learning in Retrospectives"


A slideshow, "Double Loop Learning in Retrospectives II"

To learn more about Chris Argyris and his theories of action, including double loop learning, see:

Smith, M. K. (2001) 'Chris Argyris: theories of action, double-loop...

Ishikawa for Looking Ahead

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 3 Filed Under: Agile Teams Retrospectives

In a article at the Six Sigma IQPC site, Christian Loyer offers a new twist on the old fishbone diagram root cause analysis approach.

He describes the usual application of a fishbone diagram for digging in to solve a problem. In addition to Ishikawa's Ms for manufacturing fishbones that Christian mentions, I've also used Ps or Ss. You don't have to stick with these. Try to think of all the factors present in your organizational system that can affect your current project, and come up with your own fishbone alphabet. :)

During a retrospective, the traditional...

Do Don't Try

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 0 Filed Under: Agile Teams Retrospectives

Martin Jul writes about a retrospective activity in the post "Retrospectives - Adapting to Reality." He describes an interesting process for highlighting issues in the Generating Insights part of a retrospective session.

In this activity we mark out three sections on a whiteboard: "DO" is where we put the things we should do or keep doing. This is all the things that makes us more efficient. We don't list all the good practises, just the ones we are currently learning and need to do consciously until they become habits. An example could be "Talk to the customer about the requirements...

Park Bench

Author: Diana Larsen Comments: 2 Filed Under: Retrospectives

Michael Tardiff (@mjt) tweeted:

Forget pleased & surprised: I'm astonished at the energy & number of seat-switches in "Park Bench" when tackling "creating insights." Wow.

I've used "Park Bench" at the end of workshops as a way of reflecting on the day or as a debriefing technique after a training exercise to uncover group discoveries. You may be surprised that I hadn't thought of it for retrospectives. I was. Luckily, Michael thought of it.

"Park Bench" a great technique to engage a team in the "Generating Insights" segment of the Agile Retrospectives framework. It injects fun into the session with a...