• Suffering from ‘Retrospective Fatigue’?

    22 maart 2018 | randy
  • Retrospective fatigueOne of the most important activities in Scrum is, in my opinion, the retrospective. But as with most Scrum related activities: If you only implement the ‘mechanics’ you have a chance of sticking to the processes and tools, overshadowing the people and interactions part.

    Of course, when you are just starting with retrospectives, getting some routine in the flow of the activity is important. But as with all Scrum activities: everything revolves around the outcome. In the case of the retrospective: one or more adaptations to improve the way the team can do its work.

    When a few of those action items never get implemented, this can ultimately lead to retrospective fatigue. “Now it’s the third time this improvement appears in our retrospective and still nothing has changed. What is the point of this meeting?”

    To start off, a team member pointing this out is a good start. Now you can facilitate the team on how they can increase follow-trough and start experiencing their successes in achieving their goals; The perfect treatment against Retrospective Fatigue!

    Increase follow trough

    Here are a few tips which can help the team to increase the follow-trough:

    • Make sure everybody is on the same page on the chosen action items. Action items are more likely to be carried out if every team-member finds it equally important. The item(s) with the most value for the team should have the most priority.
    • Try not to do too much at once. Set achievable goals that deliver the maximum value to the team.
    • Make sure the items are actionable. For example: “Introduce less bugs” is too vague. It is the result the team wants to achieve, but what concrete action needs to be done to achieve it? Like: “Add <bug reducing action> to our Definition of Done and make sure that every delivered story complies to this new Definition of Done”.
    • Make sure that every item has someone who is going to make sure it happens. Even if it’s a ‘team item’. If no one wants to take responsibility for the item, it can be thrown away, because it is obviously not important enough.
    • If it is just a single task like sending an e-mail or ordering something, put a date on it.
    • Make sure that the action points and the progress are visible. This can be done by putting it somewhere on the wall or as a top-priority item on the backlog. You can also make it part of the daily stand-up.
    • Always prevent blaming others (or making yourself dependent on others). Apart from the fact that a blaming culture costs a lot of energy, the team has the most influence on what they do themselves. So, the question should always be: What can we do about it. And if it involves people outside the team: Let us help you to help us. Talk with people instead of about them.

    Change the form of the retrospective

    It’s also good to change the form of the retrospective from time to time. Ask different questions, invite a client or gamify. There are numerous great examples to be found online.

    Retrospect your retrospectives

    Also take the time every once in a while, to look back at successful improvements the team has already implemented over time. You see? You are getting better and better every day!