"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"
Hunter S Thompson
So I ran a retrospective for a team a couple of weeks ago
Nothing exciting in that per se I thought but the most interesting thing happened at check in!
For those of you unfamiliar with this process it is a time at the very start where you go round the room and get everyone to say a few words. The thing they talk about is usually unimportant, what is important is that everyone speaks; it helps to engage everyone and empower them to talk further during the retrospective. So I usually ask something straight forward about the last sprint, how it made you feel etc.
Having not run a retrospective for this team before I figured I’d ask them what they hoped to gain during the retrospective and I have to confess I was surprised by some of the answers. One of the team members said “What do I hope to gain? Nothing!” which was a little disappointing but by far the most interesting was one of the tech guys. “I want to get pink cards!!”
Now as a short explanation the pink cards are the items they keep their retrospective actions on, these go on the task board as reminders of the areas we want to improve upon. So a sensible answer you would think?
No I don’t think it is.
The telling point is he was focusing on the Artifact and not the purpose, it could just as easily be couched as “I want somewhere to park what’s going wrong so I can highlight that I have acknowledged it and no longer have to do anything about it”
Interestingly we came up with, I think, 4 pink cards? – at the next retrospective the self same team when answering “How did we perform against our last retrospective actions” are going to have to answer “We didn’t!”