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Last week I talked about “Spicing up you retrospective” at the ALE2012. I did a similar talk in June at the ACE!Conference in Krakow. But after the talk in Krakow, I had a chat with Bob Marshall and he pointed out that fun isn’t the (only) answer to make retrospectives better. He also pointed me to a blog post where he wrote about these issues. So, the following article is mainly based on his ideas.
Retrospective Challenges
For me, there are two main retrospective challenges:
  • Create a motivating environment and keep the people them engaged
  • Work on the identified items
On first sight it seems that these two challenges may be caused by:
  • Repetition –> Boring Retros
  • Same problems –> No effect
  • No responsibility
  • Tasks are not visible
  • Tasks are too big
But these are only the things you see on the surface, if you dig deeper you’ll find the real root causes.
Inject Purpose
IMHO, the root cause is a missing purpose. Any retrospective without a purpose is a complete waste of time. (the same applies for any other meeting). It doesn’t make sense to change your retrospectives regularly and introduce new ideas as long as there is no purpose behind. But how can you inject purpose into your retrospectives? The answer is: by using hypotheses. To do so, I adapted the original retrospective flow by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby the following way: keep reading