Weekly Retrospectives: Retrospectives in Product Management are defined as “An Agile Retrospective is a meeting that ́s held at the end of each iteration in Agile Development. We can use one of the Agile Principles to define Agile Retrospectives: At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” What if we didn’t wait until the end of the “iteration”? That is what Daniel Lopes has proposed in this piece on short retrospectives…
This year I’ve experimented a different approach to Retrospectives: instead of doing them only after a big incident, or after a milestone was achieved, I and my team started doing Retrospectives on a weekly basis, as part of Weekly Meeting (what in Scrum it’s called Sprint Review + Sprint Planning).
It usually takes between 15 and 30min, and the results have been quite positive, with improvements, even if very small sometimes, being highlighted and applied every single week.
The consequence of applying this is a cycle of continuous improvement that creates a compounding effect: we’ll get exponentially better as time progresses. Of course, in real product life, how this evolves is more nuanced than pure math. But the principle still applies: we’ll get exponentially better.
It doesn’t mean every week we have relevant aspects to highlight: the amount of improvements to implement, or positive aspects that we take note, eventually slow down as the team gets full-steam. Or, of course, until an incident or a big change kicks in.
But there’s almost always something to highlight from the previous week if we take 10 min to really think about it. Actually, that’s why I share the Retrospective document before the Weekly meeting — so that people can take their time to reflect and write them on the doc.
The other advantage of this process is that it makes Retrospectives more natural and less painful than having to schedule 2-hour meetings every 2/3 months, to discuss past events that the team has difficulty to recall.
With Weekly Retrospectives, the team is continuously reflecting, learning, and improving on their work methodology and techniques. And they are applying it quick enough, so that that the positives have a quick impact, and the negatives don’t become too big of a problem.