Tiny Retrospective

Probably an example would explain it better. A while ago, I felt the necessity of doing some kind of a sport since spending time in an office all day long is not really working out well for my bones. I started searching for some local Gym options, but I have been dragging my feet since I don’t really like Gyms. Then I thought of running in a local park close to either my home or office. I started doing that, however as expected in all kinds of sports, you need to make it part of your lifestyle or it won’t last long. The same happened in my case unfortunately, since I have not really been a sports person myself!

A very simple solution was actually just there all these times. I take tube everyday to commute to work. Why don’t I get off at the penultimate stop and walk the rest of it? The main problem was to do some sort of actions to stretch my bones, and the simplest (and most enjoyable) solution was to walk a bit everyday as part of my daily routine.

It is quite a common human behaviour to create some routines or just embrace the usual, and never actually question it later on. Especially in IT, the common motto of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is something we religiously follow at times. However, sometimes minor changes could result in huge improvements which in turn becomes like a “very good value for money”.

The very same principles valid for individuals can also be applied to the teams. Even in a very stable and productive team, there are magic touches which can improve the efficiency with a great deal. The main issue is to be able to identify such minor changes, and of course, the team itself is best suited to discover them. Remember empowering the teams is an important foundation in Scrum in order to achieve a self-organised team.

I have been using a flavour of “Tiny Retrospective” to identify such magic touches within the team. Before I distribute the post-its, I make a short & inspiring talk with couple of examples to clearly explain the sorts of thing we should be looking for. Almost every time, the team surprises me and even themselves by coming up with such simple and creative ideas! Of course, we apply the ideas immediately after the meeting and salute the achievement with cups of tea during the next retrospective.

I have set up our whiteboard to look like below just before the retrospective:

tinyretrospective

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