Scrum Retrospectives: Facilitating Improvement with System Dynamics Analysis, Root Cause Analysis, and Skillful Workshop Exercises
The 12th agile principle is, At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. This implies the retrospective -- a workshop held at the end of each iteration (timeboxed to 3 hours in Scrum) in which the team reflects on their practices and environment, and defines new process experiments (to improve) for the next iteration.
This principle is most certainly last but not least as it is at the heart of empirical process, a key concept in agile methods such as Scrum in which it is understood that there is too much variability and discovery in product development to have a standard defined process. Rather, each team needs to define a "4-week process" empirically based on feedback and inspect and adapt cycles, and then endlessly and relentlessly evolve their process practices. This never-ending improvement is driven by the core practice of the retrospective workshop.
In this course you will learn practical facilitation techniques for retrospectives. In Scrum, these skills are especially relevant for the role of ScrumMaster.
In lean thinking and in Scrum, there is an emphasis on people learning to see the deeper root causes behind problems. There are skillful methods to help this, including causal loop diagramming from system dynamics work, and other analysis tools. You will learn and practice these various methods, to help teams grasp the deeper dynamics of their situation and the environment. And you will learn other classic, useful retrospective techniques including timeline analysis and much more.
You will leave this course with hands-on skills in how to lead a successful retrospective workshop.
Methods of Education
Discussion, presentation, Q&A, workshop exercises
ScrumMasters, change agents, and other retrospective facilitators.
Intermediate: This course introduces concepts and techniques that the attendee will apply during the workshop.
Familiarity with an agile method, such as Scrum.
Students must read, before the course: The Scrum Primer
- serve as an effective Retrospective facilitator
- know and coach retrospective analysis exercises (root cause analysis, ...)
- know and coach retrospective process design exercises
- the 5 steps in a retrospective workshop
- root cause and system dynamics analysis
- causal loop diagramming, 5 Whys, and Ishikawa diagramming
- timeline analysis
- brain writing
- affinity clustering
- a retrospective planning game
- SMART goals
- retrospective decision making
- seeing and resolving conflict while maintaining a sense of safety and respect
- retrospecting the retrospective
Environment - Room, Tools, Texts
Read this: Course Environment - Workshop Style1
Text and Notes
- Text: Agile Retrospectives
- Students must read, before the course: The Scrum Primer
- There is a course PDF for the presentations. We may decide to give the students a file copy to view on a laptop or a paper copy, depending on situation.