scrum retrospective meetings

Skipping Scrum Retrospective Meetings? You May Want to Reconsider

Scrum Retrospective Meetings – To Keep It Or Leave It?

How many times have you heard or said that retrospectives are useless? Project management can mean that we deal with problems on the go; so why waste our time? Guess what. Retrospective meetings are not about solving problems. Let us explain.

First, take a look at the Agile Manifesto, namely its 12th principle.

’At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.’

Noticed there’s no mentioning of any ’problems’ in there? Retrospective meetings are indeed the most widespread ways that support this principle, during which team members discuss how they can improve on operations. Obviously, if there are problems concerning daily tasks, by definition they hinder effective work; therefore, solving them is a pre-requisite for development. It’s a pre-requisite, not an end goal.

Very simply put, the goal of a sprint retrospective meeting is to improve and create efficiency throughout the product dev and release processes for the upcoming sprints. Development teams achieve this by discussing what went well and what did not during the previous sprint. In this way, an  inspect and adapt mindset is leveraged during sprint reviews and helps in the way of continuous improvement.

It All Boils Down To Concentration

Dealing with problems on the way is good indeed, so much so that postponing a problem until the retrospective meetings is a huge mistake. But why do scrum teams need to dedicate a separate ceremony to development itself, why can’t we just do that underway? The word you’re looking for is focus…

During ongoing projects, one must pay attention to opportunities for fixing issues; however, if there’s no dedicated time for that, these will simply get lost in the sea of urgent matters. Time presses us to solve things ASAP, meaning we tend to think in short-term solutions, creating just as much value as we possibly can in that short period of time.

Related: Agile QuickTip: Vegas-Style Retrospective

If we focus on and dedicate time to issues hindering us, however, we can create maximum value as per our creativity and individual talents. Additionally, this way we plan for the long-term, allowing us to enjoy the benefits of solutions we come up with much longer. A long-lasting reward for a short period of time spent on it. It’s not too hard to realize that long-term value outperforms clumsy, short-term solutions.

Final Thoughts On Retrospective Meetings

To sum it up, we need to keep dealing with problems constantly, but this cannot replace retrospective meetings. Smaller, menial problems could wait until the ceremony, but keep in mind that having no issues is the beginning of development, not its final goal.

To add to the myriad of benefits scrum retrospectives have for the scrum team is included its reputation in building consensus among development team members.

Ponder about it. Do you hold retrospectives with the above mindset? Do you even care to hold it? If not, are you aware that having no retrospective goes right against the definition of Agile and the scrum framework, as well as continuous adaptation and development?

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