Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) with Scrum.org.
In my experience, running a meta-retrospective is useful both as a regular event, say once a quarter, or after achieving a particular milestone, for example, a specific release of the product.
Read more on how to organize such a meta-retrospective.
The meta-retrospective format I describe here is based on Zach Bonaker’s WADE-matrix, extended by an additional practice at the beginning of the retrospective. To frame the level of (necessary) openness of the upcoming conversation, I run a short exercise bringing the Scrum values back into the hearts and minds of the attendees. After all, we are organizing the meta-retrospective to also address the elephants in the room.
The meta-retrospective itself does not require any knowledge of agile practices and is hence suited for practically everyone. This format can easily handle 15-plus people, provided the room is large enough. It works best when there is space available where people can get together for discussions. Also, we need at least one large whiteboard in the room as most of the work will happen initially on this wall.
Running the Scrum values exercise is simple:
Once that is done, you are good to go with the meta-retrospective.
The latest, 236 pages strong version of “Agile Transition — A Hands-on Manual from the Trenches” is available right here for free!
Start the meta-retrospective by drawing the first axis onto the whiteboard and note that the axis represents a continuum. Then ask the attendees to pair up again but choose a different partner than before.
Now ask them to pick their three most important learnings looking back. Time-box this creation phase to 3–5 minutes. After the stickies with the learnings are available, ask every pair to introduce them to the rest of the attendees and put them on the whiteboard. (Again, they shall cluster stickies where appropriate.)
In the next step, introduce the second axis — which again is a continuum.
Then ask the participants to align all stickies on the whiteboard also with the second axis. You can stop this once stickies are no longer moved on the whiteboard.
Now it is time to turn the pattern into a 2-by-2 matrix and label the four quadrants accordingly:
For the next step, focus on the upper left quadrant — “Get to Work” — and ignore the bottom two quadrants. Probably, there will also be time to address the upper right quadrant. (“Talk to the management.”) Start by moving the stickies from the upper left quadrant to a different part of the whiteboard and prepare them for a dot-voting to figure out the ranking of the issues. (I usually issue 3–5 dots to each attendee for this purpose. The voting may take up to five minutes.) Once the voting is accomplished, generate some action-items by running a lean coffee-style discussion based on the ranked issues.
Running a meta-retrospective is an excellent exercise to foster collaboration within the extended team, create a shared understanding of the big picture, and immediately create valuable action-items. Best of all: it takes less than two hours to make the ideas of avoiding ‘Muda’ and practicing ‘Kaizen’ tangible to everyone.
If you prefer a notification by email, please sign-up for my weekly newsletter and join 18,862 peers.
Now available on the Age-of-Product Youtube channel:
I invite you to join the “Hands-on Agile” Slack Community and enjoy the benefits of a fast-growing, vibrant community of agile practitioners from around the world.
If you like to join now all you have to do now is provide your credentials via this Google form, and I will sign you up. By the way, it’s free.
The Meta-Retrospective — How To Get Customers and Stakeholders Onboard was first published on Age-of-Product.com.