Common ailments & cures

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A collection of common problems which occur with retrospectives and suggestions how to resolve them. Generated by running a Retrospective Surgery.

If you have an ailment that is not covered please add it at the bottom and hopefully someone will have an answer for you.


Ailment: Actions not captured / No obvious record or review of previous retrospective findings

Cures:

  • Review the actions from the previous retrospectives at the beginning of each retrospective.
  • Capture/Document actions & follow up by Scrum Master
  • Maintain backlog and have it visible for everybody in the team (e.g. on the Task Board)
  • Focus on last sprint only
  • Make someone responsible and accountable for each action.
  • Put the actions somewhere visible in the team space for example to create team building spirit
  • Reduce actions to a manageable number
  • More suggestions in Having Actions Done from Retrospectives

Ailment: Too many actions

Cures:

  • Apply velocity to actions, track progress and only take on what velocity dictates
  • Try Plan of Action Retrospective Plan
  • Only choose one action

Ailment: Unjustified actions

Cures:

  • Use root cause analysis
  • Ensure actions are suggestions from the team and prioritised by them.
  • Suggests Biased chair - see cures for that symptom

Ailment: Not having the right people in the retrospective

Cures:

  • Invite people early
  • Pick a time that suits everyone
  • Have separate retrospectives for tech team & wider team

Ailment: Biased chair / Agenda hijacking

Cures:

  • Feedback to chair and escalate if necessary
  • Rotate chair
  • Coach chair on “Agile” principles
  • Let team choose an un-biased chair

Ailment: Lack of preparation / Forgetting what’s happened

Cures:

  • Compensate in the meeting by having a good time line (Ed. help everyone remember what happened?)
  • Prepare - personal/team log
  • Remind participants to think of good and bad points
  • Reminder before the meeting
  • Use Retrospective Exercises from Valuable Agile Retrospectives or Retr-O-Mat

Ailment: People not speaking up/shy

Cures:

  • Chair/facilitator needs to create the right environment
  • Suggest box/amnesty
  • Try different games which are more suited to retiring types

Ailment: Retrospective actions and tips not shared with other teams

Cures:



Ailment: People taking things personally

Cures:


Ailment: Voting system may result in valid issues not being addressed

Cures:

  • Non-addressed issues get rolled over (& keep votes?)
  • Themed retrospectives
  • Encourage team to get on well so they empathise more with issues affecting minority
  • Vary the retro format (e.g. no voting)

Ailment: Suffering from 'Group Think'

Cures:


Ailment: Lack of engagement

Cures:

  • Try new plans or tips such as the ones on this wiki!

Ailment: Too much focus on negatives

Cures:

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