Your retrospectives are a waste of time! Unless you do this one thing

Published September 1, 2015 by David Horowitz

Does your team run retrospectives sprint after sprint, only to make the same mistakes again and again? Are your retrospectives a chance to complain, and nothing more? Does your team mentally check out of your retrospectives before they even start?

If so, repeat after me: your retrospectives are a waste of time. I'll say it again, but this time, louder: your retrospectives are a waste of time!!!

Yes, retrospectives are intended to be an opportunity to look back on what went wrong. But more importantly, they are your team's chance to figure out what it can do better in the future.

How can your team start looking forward and not just back?

A way forward

Fortunately, the answer is so simple that you'll laugh at yourself and say: "why haven't we been doing that?"

What is it? Action plans

actionplans_2 Retrium action plans

 Action plans are your team's opportunity to agree on concrete steps it will take to improve. It's your path forward to better productivity and greater team cohesiveness and happiness. For this to happen, the team must agree on the action plan. If your boss, a key stakeholder, or the Product Owner imposes new action items on you, you're doing it wrong. Action plans are bottom-up, collective, and collaborative. Done right, your team should be excited about the ways it can improve.

GOOD RETROSPECTIVES

We've said before that a good retrospective is facilitated. Well, a great retrospective leads to a concrete, actionable, and achievable plan for improvement. That means that your action plan shouldn't be 20 items long. Or even 10. Or 5 (unless you are superstars). Just 1 or 2 action items, each of which has a clear "definition of done" that the team feels it can accomplish.

GET STARTED NOW

If your team is collocated, you can write down your action plan on post-it notes and place them prominently on the wall to remind the team during the sprint of its retrospective agreements. It's that easy.

If your team is remote, Retrium includes super-simple action plans that are integrated with the retrospective experience.

actionplans_1

Of course, Retrium-powered retrospectives are already facilitated. So you can pick from your favorite retrospective technique, like Mad Sad Glad, 4Ls, or Start Stop Continue and Retrium will do all the hard work by automatically giving your team the opportunity to create an action plan for the upcoming sprint. It's that easy.

Sound good? Start running amazing retrospectives today!

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