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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pros and Cons of conducting retrospectives

Here is a nice article about retrospectives


Retrospectives PDF Print E-mail
Written by willem
Tuesday, 14 February 2006

After an event or project, all the stakeholders come together to celebrate the successes of the project, and learn from failure in a constructive manner without finger-pointing. After a retrospective participants have concrete actions for the next event or project, and can contain broader organisational change.

Retrospective benefits:

  • Closure
  • Learning from our own mistakes
  • Learning from someone else's mistakes
  • Acknowledging aligned practices and accomplishments
  • Rewriting organizational stories
  • Learning a healthy ritual
  • Discovering strengths of the organization
  • Clarifying aligned roles for players
  • Allowing to connect emotionally
  • Challenging each others assumptions
  • Providing an overview of what's actually happening in the organization
  • Building trust across boundaries
  • Clear results, that lead to realistic commitments

Retrospective risks:

  • Emotional upset
  • Unrealized expectations
  • Lack of follow up leading to frustration and distrust
  • Last minute sabotage
  • Repercussions and retaliations
  • Loss of control at the top
  • Increase in awareness of personal responsibilities and accountability
  • And of the chasm between responsibilities and accountability
  • Can be a life style changing event
  • Discovering that you waited too long to do aretrospective
  • Discovering some of your assumptions are invalid

Risks of not doing retrospectives:

  • Emotional upset piles up
  • Repeating mistakes over and over again
  • Carrying forward unhealthy relationships
  • Not using an opportunity for sustaining and reinforcing best practices
  • Lack of adaptivity
  • Less access to hidden wisdom
  • Not having your assumptions challenged
  • Would have could have should have thinking
  • Learning organization is not learning
  • Getting stuck in causality loops
  • Less access to hidden resources

Retrospectives can provide lessons on architecture, planning, communication, product information flow and possible early intervention points.

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