Do you do a retrospective after an activity ends (aka take feedback)?

Last updated by Brook Jeynes [SSW] 6 months ago.See history

Scrum processes are useful for more than just software development - it’s a great tool for organizing and optimizing all kinds of work, from presentations to meetings to events, sales, and more. A very important part of the Scrum process is the Sprint Retrospective Meeting. It is basically feedback, an important commodity to any professional who wants to improve their game.

You should get into the practice of having a retro for most tasks. It’s a great way to get feedback while it’s still fresh in people’s minds, and it lets you know what you need to change to be even more successful next time. The guys at SSW jokingly say "you can't eat dinner with Adam Cogan without a retro about the meal".

Get it in their mind at the kick-off

Let everyone know from the start that we do a “retro”, and what it entails. This way, they will know to be mindful during the event/task/presentation.

It is very important that atendees take notes, which will serve as reminders of what happened during an activity. There will be things they like and things they don't.

Then at the end, remind people: “In the spirit of Scrum, let’s do a retro”. This is the time to discuss what was good and what needs to be improved with people in the room or with the presenter.

The 3 questions

Start with “What went well?” - everyone must say one thing.

Then move onto, “What didn’t go so well?” This part can be painful but it’s important - we need to know these things so that we can make improvements.

Finally, we ask, “What could we do differently next time?”

Adam: How was the presentation? Eddie: Yeah, it was alright.

Bad example: This line of questioning doesn’t provide useful feedback

Adam: What went well with your presentation? Eddie: People seemed to really relate to the case studies I presented. Adam: What didn’t go so well? Eddie: My demo didn’t work. That was really embarrassing. Adam: What would you do differently next time? Eddie: I’d definitely get there a bit earlier so I’d have time to troubleshoot that pesky demo on their wifi! That would also give me extra time to talk to the audience so I could find out what problems they’re hoping to solve with my session - it’s a good way to get more case studies!

Make it actionable

After you've done the retro, it's important to agree on a path forward so that change is put into effect.

Create a list of action points and send off an email or a PBI for each one. Then mention in the retro email all the emails and tasks which have been sent off.

This process ensures that each person has a single task to action, and makes accountability clear.

Action Points (email subjects)

  1. Melbourne Brainstorming 2023 Retro - Brady Action Points
  2. Melbourne Brainstorming 2023 Retro - William L Action Points
  3. Melbourne Brainstorming 2023 Retro - Piers Action Points
  4. Melbourne Brainstorming 2023 Retro - Adam Action Points

Figure: Good Example - Mentioning the email subjects for each action point decided on in a retro

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