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Retrospective in Agile

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  • Last Updated : 21 Feb, 2022

Prerequisite: Agile Software Development Model

The agile software development model is now a popular software development model which is widely used by every IT industry for product development. Various meetings, practices, teams are part of Agile development. Agile Retrospective is one of the important meetings which is conducted mostly at the end of every product release. In this article you will get to know more about what, where, why, how and by whom this meeting is conducted.  

Agile Retrospective:

The term agile refers to “Software Development Methodology” and retrospective refers to “The act of looking back at the previous days of a project and identifying the following”.  

  • What went WELL?
  • What went WRONG?
  • How to IMPROVE?

Software development teams conduct agile retrospective meetings and in these meetings, they analyze the sprint (certain period of a recent project. Like last week or a month of the project). That’s why some call it a “Sprint retrospective” as well.

The meeting is to identify the key points mentioned above.  

  • It is team-oriented, time-bound and it happens especially at the end of a project.
  • Usually, 5 to 10 people(depending on the project members) take part in this meeting that lasts an hour, sometimes a couple of hours.
  • Team members will express their opinions about the previous project being discussed. That will eventually bring out the answers to the key points.

=> Agile retrospective = Continuous improvement of an agile software development team

Importance of Agile Retrospective:

The main objective of the meet is to unveil the key points in order to help the teamwork better than it has been working.

  • Team members do the analysis, so they can easily adapt to better approaches and drop ineffective practices.
  • It helps the team deliver their part fastly and more effectively.
  • Open-minded discussion in the team will open up endless creative ideas to improve.
  • By the end of the meeting, the team will know: what practices to continue, what to stop, and what actionable steps need to be taken to work better than before.

Conducting Agile Retrospective:

There are multiple ways to do an agile retrospective. Each of them slightly differs from one to another, yet the end goal is the same.  And we are going to see one of the popular and widely used approaches i.e. the five-stage approach.  

1. Set the Stage:

  • Kick-start by inviting the concerned people to the meeting.
  • Set up the meeting room and stuff that will help the team visually understand the retrospective.
  • If it’s an in-person meeting, then a whiteboard will be good enough.
  • A remote meeting needs an application to interact and visually represent ideas. Like, Microsoft Teams, Trello board, Confluence, and so on and it is time for the team to take it ahead.

2. Gather Data:

  • Make a table having 3 columns (what went well, what went wrong & what needs improvement).
  • Put data from the sprint into those columns respectively. The data can be actions taken, results that occurred, decisions made, new approaches undertaken, milestones accomplished, and anything important in the sprint.

3. Generate Insights:

  • It is time for expressing ideas not for criticizing others.
  • Observe, analyze and understand the “problems, patterns and possibilities of improvements in the gathered data”.
  • Once their brains get the required input with the data, they will start ANALYZING them.
  • And then discuss. By this time, each one of the attendees of the meeting will be expressing their opinions and start finding smart solutions.
  • Make an Action Plan, After stage 3, the team knows what they should stop doing, what they should start doing, and an ideal approach that brings in the real improvement of teamwork.

5. Close the Retrospective:

  • Hereby, the meeting has come to the end. So, review the retrospective and the action plan.
  • Fuel the fire inside by appreciating the efforts of the team for reaching the milestones successfully.
  • Make note of the meeting in a document/record the meeting for future references.
  • Get feedback on the retrospective.
  • At last, do not forget to express Thank you for the cordial cooperation and for coming up with fruitful ideas. And then end the meeting.

Benefits of Agile Retrospective:

  • Smart solutions are found for the team and by the team.
  • Doorstep for faster delivery of software products.
  • Self-evaluation improves the overall productivity of the team.
  • The team is in charge of how they are going to function. So they will do their work with more involvement.
  • Coordination is improved as well.
  • Chance to know the individual’s perceptions as well as to know their strengths and weaknesses.
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