The Scrum Year Retrospective by Nuno Gouveia

Today, is the last day of the year 2015 and there is nothing better than talk about Retrospectives. Having this said, this time I’m not writing one of my articles but instead I would like to share with you an article written by my friend Nuno Gouveia (Scrum Master from the Avengers Team).

After reading his article “The Scrum Year Retrospective” I thought that was really great to share with you their idea on how they could keep improving as well their experience regarding the Scrum Year Retrospective. Not forgetting the outcome results and feedback from this experience.

For me it’s really amazing when we see teams with this innovation spirit. In other words, not having afraid to fail and with continuous improvement as a team value.

Having said this, please find the article below:

Background
I’ve been acting as Scrum Master for my team (Avengers) for the past few months. Just to give some context, we are a team with some experience with Scrum and some of us have been working together for about 2 years now. Our retrospectives usually have a lot of good discussions and I like to believe that we are not the type of team that sweeps stuff under the rug. Our biggest problem is really that sometimes we discuss so much that we start deviating from the issues at hand. With that in mind, on my first retrospectives as a Scrum Master I tried not to change too much from what was the routine retrospective (+/- board with post-its) and focused instead on trying to not let the team scatter too much on the issues being discussed.

For the past 2 sprints I’ve been working with another team member that is also acting as Scrum Master, so we can say we are a kind of a Scrum Master’s team. The experience has been very good and last sprint, we had a great idea for a retrospective and this post is to share that experience.

The idea
The idea was to do a year review or year end retrospective. This seemed a great idea but there was a big problem: if sometimes in the sprint retrospective we have a hard time remembering everything that happened in the last 2 weeks, how would we remember all that has happened during one entire year? To solve that problem we had the idea to do a year timeline that could represent all the main events that had happened during that time. So a couple of hours before the retrospective we (the Scrum Master Team) tried to capture the most outstanding events from each sprint. We also decided to take screenshots from the most important product features we developed. We assembled the timeline on a big paper just a few minutes before the retrospective and then called everyone into the room (the result is the image in the cover of this post).

Year Retrospective

We started by explaining what was going to happen to the rest of the team. We told the team that besides our usual sprint retrospective we would also do a retrospective of the entire year. After that we unveiled the year timeline and everyone looked quite surprised! We went over the timeline together and while at it we decided (with the team’s input) to add the time of the year when the team new members joined in. After that we gave everyone around 10 minutes to write post-its for good and bad things that had happened during the last sprint or the entire year.

Results
There were a lot of post-its both from the last sprint and from the entire year and that generated a lot of discussion, and it was the first retrospective where the number of post-its for good things exceeded the bad ones! It was very good to revisit some old discussions and try to get closure in others. We have been improving as a team with each sprint retrospective, but this was a totally different experience that allowed us to step back and realise how far we had come since the beginning of the year.

Conclusion
In the end it was an amazing experience and we had a very good feedback from the team. If you haven’t done something similar yet I would recommend that you try this with your team, either to close this year or to start the new one!

Postits
Good 2016!

Nuno

My feedback from this is simple: Great article. I hope that you enjoy reading it like I did.

See more at: The Scrum Year Retrospective by Nuno Gouveia

 

Agile Maturity Self-Assessment Survey (Published at ScrumAlliance)

Sharing my recent article publish by Scrum Alliance today, Tuesday 8th of December 2015.

This article identifies questions you can use to create an Agile Maturity Self-Assessment Survey, and it discusses the importance of this type of survey.

You might be asking why you would need a survey. Well, I truly believe in constant feedback. There is no better way to challenge the status quo. Also, it helps us understand what we can improve, how to be faster, and how to be more adaptive and responsive to the changes or challenges that come our team’s and business’s way.

Keep in mind that these kinds of tools are what allow us to improve what we already do well and to help us gain a clear view of where we need to focus our efforts. To that end, I think that the best place to retrieve this feedback is from the people who deal with the real scenarios every day. They are the best at evaluating their team and business for Agile maturity so that they can identify the anti-patterns and develop possible solutions and corresponding actions for improvement.

For these reasons, some time ago I searched on the Web for existing surveys that I could use and was able to find one that, from my perspective, was complete and had all the right questions.

So, the next step was to create the survey and send it to everyone. The number of replies was very good, and some conclusions were interesting, but (there is always a but) the survey feedback included the following remarks:

  • It was too long.
  • Some questions were not clear enough to understand and answer.
  • Some of the questions were hard to answer because they didn’t have a full overview.
  • It was confusing if you did not have a Scrum role.

Again, after this feedback and based on my beliefs, I decided to collaborate with a few people who answered the survey and a few others who face these challenges every day. These collaborators have also decided to accept the challenge to become Agile Champions or Change Agents.

I was amazed by their motivation and commitment to help improve the survey and their commitment to understand its results. It was really impressive!

After long discussions and reviews, the result of this collaboration was the following improved survey:

Your Role

  • Dev Team Member
  • ScrumMaster (dedicated)
  • Product owner / Manager
  • Delivery Manager / Head of / Director
  • Project / Program Manager
  • Other

1. Which Agile framework does your team use?

  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Other
  • None

2. Is your team able to deliver valuable software frequently?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

3. How often do you think that we are delivering what the business needs most?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

4. Is your team accommodating all the changes suggested by the product owner?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

5. How often does your team have visibility into what it will be doing in the next three sprints?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

6. Does your team have an agreed and clear DoR (Definition of Ready)?

  • Yes
  • No

7. How often are the user stories that enter your sprint ready to be implemented?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

8. How often is your team being disrupted and controlled by outsiders during the sprint?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

9. Does your team find blockers during the sprint?

  • Yes
  • No

10. Are any blockers found being tackled in a timely manner?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

11. Is your team collaborating daily? (Ex: Daily stand-up)

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

12. Is your team motivated to deliver the sprint deliverables?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

13. Do the Scrum team members trust each other?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

14. How often, when it’s possible, does your team communicate face to face?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

15. Does your team have an agreed and clear DoD (Definition of Done)?

  • Yes
  • No

16. How often is your team able to deliver fully tested, working software at the end of the sprint?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

17. How often is your team able to deliver at a sustainable pace?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

18. Is your team striving for quality and technical excellence by Betfair standards?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

19. Is your team self-organized in accordance with Agile principles?

  • Yes
  • No

20. Are the team members locked into their specific roles?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

21. How often is your team able to reflect on whatever has happened? (Ex: Retrospective)

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

22. Does your team take appropriate actions based on whatever has come up in retrospectives?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

23. Is your team continuously improving what it does (including processes)?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

24. Is your team using performance metrics to improve team performance?

  • Never
  • Seldom
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Always

25. Do you have any ideas on what we could improve regarding our software development process?

  • (Open Question)

My thoughts are to continue to analyze the next feedback and review this survey periodically with all the Agile champions (each time with a small group to be able to stay focused).

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you want to share your own experience on this subject. I would like to hear your thoughts and opinions.

See more at: ScrumAlliance.org | Agile Maturity Self-Assessment Survey