Teams are more effective when they learn HOW to learn. They focus on small and actionable improvements and make sure to follow up on them until they are completed, before moving on to the next.

However, it is not always easy for teams to learn effectively. So, how to start improving? 🤔

👉 First, a good strategy is to vary the practices and formats that are used for learning and reflection. For example, using the same format for each Sprint Retrospective will hardly lead to new insights. 💤 Instead, vary formats and techniques and differ in theme. Use one Retrospective to zoom in on quality and another to explore psychological safety. The results provided by our platform can give direction and guidance on what to focus on.

👉 Second, Retrospectives are as useful as the quality of the improvements that are identified. Many teams tend to struggle here. It is common to see vague and unclear improvement suggestions that are not owned by anyone, nor followed up on in the next session. 🤷‍♀️ Since teams have to learn how to learn, it is important to make a habit out of identifying, tracking, and completing improvement actions.

👉 Third, improvement actions benefit from the focus and a limit of work-in-progress too. We’ve often seen teams who easily identify dozens of improvement actions, yet fail to implement any of them. This is neither motivating nor useful. It is much more effective to limit each Retrospective to one or two single actionable improvements that are actually implemented in the next iteration. Because there are always other iterations, there is no need to improve everything at the same time.

Actions to start small and simple are:
1️⃣ Before the start of the next (Sprint) Retrospective, ask your team: ‘What is the purpose of this session?’ and ‘How can we use the (Sprint) Retrospective to achieve this purpose, and even exceed it?’.
2️⃣ For your next (Sprint) Retrospective, limit yourself to the identification of a single improvement that is actionable, concrete, and specific enough to implement the next Sprint.
3️⃣ Ask someone from outside your team to facilitate the next (Sprint) Retrospective.

How would you describe the quality of your team’s Retrospectives❓ What recommendations do you have to help a team start improving❓

Retrospective quality is one of the 20+ factors we measure to determine Agile & Scrum team effectiveness. Based on the results, teams receive evidence-based feedback on how to start improving.

Why don’t you give the Agile/Scrum Team Survey a try? We offer a free version focused on individual teams and a paid version that shows aggregated results of multiple teams.


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