Show Notes - Retros must be intentional


Retrospectives must be Intentional

Aired on A Journeyman’s Travels Podcast on March 24, 2023
These are the notes from which I recorded the show. They’re a little unpolished since the original audience was just me. But I’ve added some of the reference material that I allude to in the podcast and post it here, should anyone want to ‘see how the sausage is made’.

Show Notes

  • What is Retro
    • Why we use it
  • Introduce Principle
    • What is Intent
    • Not just Gripe, but get better
  • First intent: here to GROW
    • That means Change!
    • Just going into a meeting doesn’t mean you’ll grow from it.,
    • This is the core WHY
    • What we are doing today won’t be what we do tomorrow
    • That we change, because we acknowledge that we are NOT there yet!
    • Not that we cannot celebrate growth, but still looking at what is next.
  • Intentionally exploring the gaps
    • NOT half-baked ( I could be better at something I am good at)
      • But an admission, I am not good at X, can you ( team) help me.
    • This is critical to offer the fuel for growth
    • This is HOW we build growth!
    • It means Mea Culpa, and admitting I am not good enough yet.
    • But if everyone is there as part of that commitment, then everyone is there to be accountable together.
    • Implicit made Explicit
    • But this means intentionally and critically engaging with the meeting…
      • We cannot get growth without staying engaged!
      • And if we just keep doing the same thing we kind of drift.
  • Intentionally structure the meeting
    • This is about WHAT
    • Discuss Habits and the tendency of the mind fo automate
    • Example of Boredom and children
    • Example of Novel Toothpaste
      • We build a habit, and it become boring
      • We turn off our thought
      • It’s not until we get a new toothpaste( or run out) that we think about it
    • For a Retro, how do we make the Habit of a Retro NOT fall into the ‘automated’ side?
      • Recommend: vary the format
        • MOVE ON from the 3 column format
        • Do it too often and people disengage, stop thinking.
        • Need to balance the novelty with the ability to execute the learning.
      • Is a great place for SMs to intentionally coach their team, courting the conversations that need to happen
        • Maybe help focus on things other than just DOING
        • What about your team’s interactions?
          • After all that is one of the Agile Manifesto principles.
    • Intentionality is a core of retrospectives.
      • Growth only happens when we are challenged. We must intentionally seek to grow. We need it consistent
      • We need to intentionally commit to exploring the area of our discomfort for places toi grow, which includes ACTUALLY applying what we need to grow in.
      • And lastly, we need to make the habit consistent, but also to consistently tune it! We need to commit to staying engaged, which can mean intentionally seeking out our growth through different means or focuses.
      • And if we can remain engaged in cultivating the habit of Retrospectives, with them growing and changing even as our team does, we will see our teams flourish and our cultures, and products becoming more successful!