How to conduct better retrospective meetings?. What do scrum masters do after the daily stand up meetings?. The social media gets reverberated with these questions every now and then.
The Comet1 which was the world’s first commercially produced jetliner was involved in a number of accidents in which the machines broke up mid air. Eventually the flaw was identified as hairline cracks around the square windows of the plane, spreading across the fuselage and eventually causing the whole plane to breakup in mid air. Comet1 is the reason why air planes these days have oval shaped windows. After the disaster David Warren, the investigator recommended the nearly indestructible flight data recorder (black box).
Steve Koppel, one of my favorite football coaches looks very aloof during the matches. He is quite different from many other coaches who throws tantrums standing close to the side lines. You can spot Steve very rarely there. Very often you see him partly hidden behind a window of the hideout, cool yet serious, noting down something in his small writing pad as and when something noteworthy happens. I am not sure about what he records there, and I speculate that they are all areas for improvement or triggers to that. This must be a great input when they retrospect in the dressing room after the match, and while developing strategies for the next match. He is always cool and composed. During the last season, he could take his team (not very strong, no big stars) till the final. Their performance was improving game after game. I love Steve Koppel for that.
Sprint retrospectives can become mere rituals if they are not conducted professionally backed by facts and data. A ‘sprint black box’ comprising of the recording of areas for improvements and areas of best results (to be institutionalized) is a great input for effective sprint retrospectives. The scrum master must own it. Apart from acting as a great input for sprint retrospectives, the sprint black box will act as a great input for removing impediments as and when they happen.
The sprint burn down chart is a great input for effective sprint retrospectives. Conducting a sprint retrospective by analyzing all the crests, troughs and zero progress zones is another opportunity to run a structured retrospective.
After landing his plane safely in the Hudson river, captain Sullenberger wrote ” Everything we know in aviation, every rule in the rule book, every procedure we have, we know because someone somewhere died.” With each crash, future flights become safer.
The velocity of the current sprint is better only because of those failed sprints and the lessons we learned from them. So every data is important. Remember, in the agile world, success and failure does not matter, as long as failure does not become a pattern and we keep improving by doing everything possible to make the future sprints successful. Why sprints alone, even successful life itself revolves around this pattern.