Sprint retrospectives, for the project

Posted By on July 14, 2009 in Retrospectives | 2 Comments

I’m sure you are all familiar with sprint retrospectives, how they can be run and the value that they add but have you thought of using this tool to run a project review.

A short while ago we completed a project with our customer and we decided that we should do a project review.  In my case the customer is external to our organisation. 

I thought about this for a while and remembered back to previous project reviews I had been in and how stale and stuffy they were and sometimes a very defensive meeting, a thought occurred to me which was to run a sprint retrospective but for the project.

I rang my colleague Richard another scrum master on the same project and mentioned this to him and to my delight he’d had the same thought so we agreed that we should try this out.

When our customer visited for the review we briefed them on how we wanted to do it but also warned them that we hadn’t ran a project review this way before, we have a good customer relationship so this wasn’t a problem to them.

Richard ran the retrospective starting with a time line and key events.  It was really interesting to see the different perspectives that people had and quite enlightening to us some of the things that our external customer thought was key and enlightening to them on what their supplier thought was key.

We then progressed to the good, not so good and what can be improved and then agreed on what actions needed to be taken, exactly as I’m sure most people run their sprint retrospectives.

What struck me most however was the interaction, fun, openness and feeling of a single team that this process created and it was a joy to be part of with everybody being open and honest in a non-confrontational way about the things that are important to them and us all working together to inspect and adapt our project for the better.

Never again if I have my way will I be in a stale, stuffy or defensive project review meeting.

Sprint retrospectives for the project are the way to go.

About Tom Reynolds

With over 25 years experience of working in IT, Tom prides himself on being a “passionate, self-driven, energetic Agile Coach, Trainer and Change Agent.” Tom has a proven track record delivering scalable enterprise software to major blue chip clients, as well as a proven ability to guide teams and organisations to help them to adapt to life in an Agile environment. Contact Tom

2 Responses to Sprint retrospectives, for the project

  1. The Timeline exercise is a great one for project retrospectives so I’m not surprised to hear that it worked well for you & your client. Another technique I like to use to set a good tone for the exercise is to start with Appreciations. If you’re not familiar with Appreciations, ask each person to think of someone who did something during the sprint, or project, that they appreciated. This exercise has a very structured format in that the person recognizes another person says ” Name, I appreciate you for ………”. They should be facing the person, either standing or sitting when they give the appreciation. Handshakes and hugs are acceptable if the group does not have an aversion to personal touching. To read more on Appreciations, see Esther Derby & Diana Larsen’s book, Agile Retrospectives. They recommend using this exercise to close a retrospective and I’ve used it with lots of success opening a retrospective.

    • Tom Reynolds

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for the comment and I will be running a retrospective next Friday so I think that I will use your appreciation technique, it should be quite interesting to do but I dont think my team would extend to hugs lol.

      A number of people have pointed me towards the Agile Retrospective book and I have already put an order in for it and really look forward to reading it.


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