3 agile methods that every manager should know (part 3): retrospectives

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In the last two articles we have you with Pre-mortems and Job crafting presented two exciting methods. To round off the series, we present you today with retrospectives (or short & #8222; retros & #8220;) a method that has immense potential for the continuous improvement of teamwork & #8211; if you use it correctly.

Retrospectives: the stage for continuous feedback

If you already know Retros, the chances are high that you come from agile software development - right & #8217; s? 😉 Retros are already widespread there (even if they certainly still have room for improvement, see here). They are carried out after each Scrum Sprint to reflect on the collaboration. You collect approaches on how to work together even more successfully in the next Scrum Sprint.

Retrospectives are the stage on which the feedback comes on the table in order to improve teamwork.

Why retrospectives are relevant for everyone

Before the impression arises that all non-software developers can stop reading here: We want to make it clear why retros are relevant for everyone who wants to continuously improve themselves and their teamwork.

Almost all methods for continuous improvement are based on a cycle - the so-called DMAIC cycle, These methods sometimes have more, sometimes fewer steps. At the core, however, are always measurement, analysis and implementation:

  1. Measure what you want to improve
  2. Analyze how to improve it
  3. Implement measures to then measure again whether the desired effect has occurred

If you now refer these phases to a team, it becomes clear why retros are so important: They are the framework in which teams analyze their perceptions and derive measures to develop themselves continuously.

The retro as a step within an improvement process.

Especially if teamwork as a continuous improvement process (KVP) interpreted, a retro is a mandatory part of team routines. Therefore, from our point of view, it is a shame that retros are so often untouched terrain outside of the agile environment. Many teams still work in a & #8222; feedbackless & #8220; Space in which their voices are not asked. This is how companies give away the potential to use this feedback.

A hierarchical corporate culture often implies that it is up to project managers or managers to deal with improvement initiatives. Employees then adopt a passive attitude and complain to each other. That really cannot be in the sense of a managing director. Retros enable the teams to make processes and projects more self-directed and proactive - through an employee-controlled improvement process (which is comfortable from a management point of view).

How do retros work?

The principle is very simple: In its basic form, the retrospective team discussion essentially deals with the two questions & #8222; What went well? & #8220; and & #8222; What didn't go so well? & #8220 ;. These open questions give employees the space to note anything that comes to their minds. And without having to fill in questionnaires for hours, as in classic employee surveys.

Before you start with the questions, you should make sure that there is an open and trusting atmosphere. The basic prerequisite for this is compliance with the Vegas Rule - everything that is discussed in the retro remains in the retro. Usually, only the results, i.e. the measures that have been decided, are brought out from the retro.

One often speaks of the 5 phases a retrospective, which we have summarized for you in the following checklist:

Create an open atmosphere, collect feedback (let everyone have their say), analyze & prioritize, jointly design solutions, record measures in a binding manner

Short checklist for a successful retro

With Echometer we are building on this retrospective method. With the help of & #8222; pulse Polls & #8220; (i.e. short surveys) we record the mood in the team over time and use the results as the basis for the retro in the team. In this way, we replace traditional employee surveys and at the same time initiate an employee-initiated improvement process. Here find out how we do it specifically.  

Our main concern is to use retros, which are already being used so successfully in agile teams, throughout the company. Because regardless of whether you work agile or not, continuous feedback is a cornerstone of successful teams.

We hope that the methods presented in this series of articles Pre-Mortem, Job crafting and retrospectives We sound just as exciting for you. It is best to try it out in practice every 3 times and make your own picture! You will find a specific workshop proposal for a particularly effective retrospective here.

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