Trying out a new Retrospective format

Recently I was approached to try-out a new Retrospective format. In my role as SCRUM Master I advocate trying out new meeting formats, and the Retrospective is no exception to that rule, so I immediately responded saying that I would discuss this opportunity with my team.

After asking my team how they were thinking about it, we decided to try it out, and I came in contact with the creator of this Retro format.

The concept

The Retro format would be executed as follows; the day before the Retrospective, all team members would enter an online survey. This survey consisted of several questions where the team members would rate how they thought and felt about that particular subject, resulting in a score. The creator of the format would then translate the results of the survey into several radar charts regarding the areas described below.

Adapting to change

Altering the course of action or team repertoire in response to changing conditions. Short iterations, giving and receiving of feedback.

Autonomy

The team’s capability to regulate boundary conditions to authorize the team and to have someone to protect them.

Keeping track of the work

Team members executing their activities in a timely and integrated manner. Work together in an open workspace to share information daily and visualize progress.

Sharing leadership

Leadership should be rotated to the person with key knowledge, skills, and abilities for the particular issues facing the team at any given moment.

Sharing workload

The possibility and willingness of team members to help each other with the work.

Team goals over individual goals

The team goal should be valued over the individual goals. Members should accept and work according to the team’s norms.

Communication

A way to exchange information between a sender and receiver, irrespective of the medium.

Trust

Faith in others’ behaviours and goodwill that can grow or vanish due to interaction and experiences.

The retrospective

During the retrospective, we would go through all the radar charts and discuss the subjects, trying to find examples for the subjects with the lowest and highest scores in order to see where we excelled and where we needed to improve.

Without mentioning the actual results that our team got, we believe that this Retro format is particularly interesting to teams with “trust issues” in one way or another, since the results were anonymized. In this way the team is not able to blame one another about the results, and they need to work together to see why certain subjects had a low score.

Conclusion

One major disadvantage of this retro format for our team was that the results of the survey were anonymized, and the (answers to) key questions were not visible in the result. Therefore, when discussions arose about why the team rated a particular subject with a low score, it occurred that team members would not remember why they rated that subject with a low score. Team members wanted to see what their answers to the questions were, to be able to explain the score.

However, I want to end this blog by saying that teams who cope with trust issues should definitely look into new and other Retrospective formats, who provide anonymous results in order to discuss without blame.

 

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