An experienced Scrum team may have completed many successful projects. It may also be implementing Scrum effectively. The team might be perfect from every point of view. However, Scrum principles suggest there is always a scope of improving upon the work process to make it even better and even more efficient. The “inspect” and “adapt” principles help to generate inputs that are very important in the improvement process. Scrum dedicates a special event to support these principles. The event is called the sprint retrospective meeting. Some experts also refer to the meeting as a Scrum retrospective.
A sprint retrospective can be thought about as a “lessons learned” type of meeting. During the meeting, the team thinks about how everything worked out in the sprint just completed. It tries to retrospect and evaluates the outcomes of the sprint. The event is team driven and the entire team participates in it. The team decides how the retrospective should be held and how it should proceed. A healthy atmosphere fostering trust and sharing of ideas should ideally prevail in the meeting. The members should feel comfortable while contributing their ideas and sharing them with other team members. Senior team members should lead by example and help new joiners understand the scrum process and how the objectives of holding a retrospective can be best fulfilled.
Scrum retrospective – When, Who, and How long?
The retrospective is the last event to be held in a sprint cycle. It is conducted just after a sprint review event finishes. The entire Scrum team, including the product owner and the scrum master, should ideally attend the meeting. The sprint retrospective should generally last for three hours but it can be extended if required. At times, discussions may last for a longer time and so it may become necessary to extend the meeting. It is important to know that every event in Scrum is time-boxed so the retrospective should not extend beyond its period.
The focus of a sprint retrospective meeting
The sprint retrospective is a very important Scrum mechanism that helps the entire team to evolve on a continuous basis. The Scrum team can improve itself with regards its core functioning, and by delivering consistent product increments through the sprint cycles. Three important questions form the basis of the entire meeting:
- What happened properly or worked well?
- What did not happen and what failed to work?
- What can further actions be taken to improve the Scrum process?
The meeting further tries to decide what the team should:
- Start doing
- Stop doing
- Continue doing
Key elements of a retrospective
- The Scrum process is enhanced at the end of each sprint to ensure that the project team always improves in the manner it works.
- It is a collaborative process involving the entire Scrum team including the product owner, the scrum master
- The team members try to identify what worked well and what can be improved upon to make the Scrum process more effectual.
- The process followed by the team is discussed and the suggestions are invited how to improve it.
- Different ways and methods to increase productivity are thought about and discussed.
- The meeting aims to support team formation and bonding.
- Areas of conflict should be identified and resolved properly.
- The team’s sense of ownership should be further strengthened and self-management activities should be promoted.