Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book: Esther Derby, Diana Larsen - Agile Retrospectives

Everyone working with teams has to read this book!

Authors: Esther Derby, Diana Larsen
Title: Agile Retrospectives - Making Good Teams Great

Rating: highly recommended!

Esther Derby and Diana Larsen describe 38 activities for all stages of a retrospective meeting. These activities provide ways to improve the team work and to get better results of the retrospective. There are no rules when to choose which activity but you get a nice set of activities to select from. Goal: avoid boring routine by varying activities.

Retrospectives are one of the major keys to successful agile teams! This book helps to improve teams and so to improve the agile approach of a team.

Be aware of technical teams being focussed on hard skills rather than soft skills - this may be a problem to solve before introducing an activity working with feelings of team members and the expression of feelings. Tech staff often judges such things as psycho stuff. So what is the great thing about retrospectives? Even the 'psycho stuff' situations will improve as the team does.

Conclusion: read this book and try to vary your very next retrospective meeting.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you are finding the book useful!

    About the "psycho stuff"...Sometimes when I'm working with a team that's really uncomfortable talking about non-technical issues, I use the more analytical activities, such as fishbone diagram.

    And I don't use the F word (feelings) or the E word (emotions). I may ask about high points or low points, energy levels or satisfaction levels. Those types of questions reveal something about how people experienced the work, without asking them to articulate their feelings (which they surely have, but may not be adept at processing).