Blog 3: What is an Agile Sprint Retrospective?
In Agile, scrum takes place in sprints. Sprints are little periods of time where the Agile Scrum team has designated for certain tasks to be competed. Every software development project is broken down into sprints. And each sprint is broken down into four main periods: sprint planning, sprint execution, sprint review, and retrospective (Drury 2011). Although all four individual periods of a sprint are equally important, the one that we will be discussing is the Sprint Retrospective.
(Sprint Cycle breakdown from Drury 2011)
According to Drury, “Sprint retrospectives are an opportunity tor the team to reflect on how It is working together and actively seek out areas to improve. The Retrospective is a facilitated session at the end of the sprint”. Essentially, the main goal of the retrospective is to search for more improvements.
During this period of the scrum, team members get together to discuss about what could be better for the next sprint, what they can continue doing, and what they should stop doing. Team members aim for success and the purpose of the retrospective is to help them. The basic format for a retrospective is to go over topics such as: “What works? What doesn’t? What do we need to do?” (Keith 2008). It is a period of self-improvement for the better of the entire project. It also is a slow down period for the team members to reflect instead of just jumping to the next sprint to continue developing. However, most of the feedback and solutions that are found during the retrospective period of a sprint are usually temporary solutions and tend to only work for individual specific development projects.” Regardless of being tactical or strategic, all of these decisions indicate the team uses the Retrospective to decide how to better their teams’ agile process in future sprints” (Drury 2011).
(Photo of Sprint Planning from Drury 2011)
Ideally, the agile sprint retrospective would be seen as a productive and necessary part of a sprint since its goal to make the team more successful the next time around. In majority, most people who do participate in retrospective, have a positive experience (Drury 2011). Personally, I think that doing the retrospective causes more good than bad. They say that if you do not get any feedback, you do not get any better. Retrospective is all about feedback. If you want success, you must hear the ugly as well as the beauty of the work that you are completing.
However, not everyone agrees that retrospective is a productive use of the team’s time. One participant described the experience as “a free-for-all of just throwing positives and negatives on a wall and grouping those, you know, if two people say the same thing we talk about it. There’s not really a lot of decisions to be made other than, saying, ‘alright here’s one …” (Drury 2011).
Overall, it is up to the teams on whether or not they would want to take part in the sprint retrospective. However, it is a good idea to have a sprint retrospective, if they want to have more success and improvement.
Drury, M. (2011, August 7). Decision Making in Agile Development: A Focus Group Study of Decisions and Obstacles. Retrieved September 28, 2014, from http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/xpls/icp.jsp?arnumber=6005504
Keith, C. (2008, February 18). An Agile Retrospective. Retrieved September 28, 2014, fromhttp://www.clintonkeith.com/resources/GDC2008-AnAgileRetrospective.pdf