We do continous retro, do you?

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If you are reading this blog right now you are already following scrum or trying to follow Scrum. Well, scrum has a lot of good practices which can surely make your project a success. Following it right is what most people get stuck on. One of its ceremonies is called retrospective which is quite important, inevitable in fact, but still many don’t do it. Leaving everything apart, do you do the retrospective? If you have a very good scrum master you would but circumstances are not always the same. And in the race of completing more story points many a time we just forget what needs to improve to finish more story points. This blog is however not really about why to do retrospective but how we do the retrospective and how it has been effective it is.

First and foremost, if you are in a service based organization convince the client or the product owner to do retrospective after every sprint end. Once we are in the good position to do the retrospective with our product owner on a sprint basis, next discussion would be what would help us do it effectively and we have that discussion as below.

Introduction to Continuous Retro: Like the name suggests continuous retro is a continuous process of capturing the retrospective points which can be discussed at the time of retrospective. The continuous retro came to the scene with something like this – we do mistakes during the sprint and by the time we do the retrospective we forget most of them. And sometimes because we achieve the targets we ignore the mistakes of the current sprint and repeatedly do the same mistakes in the next sprints. However, as you know retrospective is for continuous improvement, even if we achieve our targets that don’t mean we did everything right. If we do not have any improvement points sarcastically, its God level reached. Take a look at an incident happened recently –

So the idea is to note the mistakes and also the good things that we get in the sprint. Now the question is how do we do it? You can take a look at the below points for how we do it.

  1. We leverage Google products a lot for creating our documents so we create a spreadsheet in google drive to note every retro point at the time of occurring. We call it the “Continous retro”. We keep the language of this retro informal and has enough information to recall the problems or the good points. There are retrospective points which are quite internal to the team and need not share with the client, we note those points in Continuous retro only.
  2. At the sprint end or start of the sprint, we do the internal team retrospective and try to add new points if there any. Then we discuss the internal points thoroughly and find a Kaizen by voting (Sometimes this kaizen can be completely internal to the team only). This is the time when we discuss as a team what we have to do next or how do we make ourselves more familiar with the techs we work on, how our tasks distribution should go on and etc. While discussing the internal points sometimes the team lead has to assertive on some points to led the team in the right direction.
  3. Then we create a formal retrospective sheet and we try the language to be in such a way that the client doesn’t get hurt and also you make your point clearly. Although it is again not very easy and as many of the points are directs towards a person. We have definitely done some earlier mistakes by writing direct points but as you know it is continuous improvement, we have improved a lot on it and still improving on lots other points.
  4. We send the retrospective sheet to the client just before the call so that no point goes missing. Many a times client ask for an offline review and comment later on but we try to discuss them at that moment only otherwise offline review and comments never come. This is harsh but many a time that is the truth.
  5. Do the retrospective with the client and find a Kaizen. It is very very important to continuously work on every kaizen that we find in each sprint. We did some earlier mistake like find a kaizen, follow it in the sprint, in the next sprint we find another kaizen and do not follow the previous one. So that is again very important that we should keep in mind to follow each and every kaizen we get through.

So this is basically how we do it. If you think you have a better way of doing it let us know in the comments, just like the “Continuous Retro” we want to improve on continuously.

Pasted image at 2017_11_27 04_17 PM

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Pranjut Gogoi is the enthusiast of Machine Learning and AI with 8+ years of experience. He is been implementing different machine learning projects in Knoldus. He started an initiative called MachineX through which they share knowledge with the world. With this initiative, he broadcasts different free webinars, write different blogs and contributes to open source communities on machine learning and AI.

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