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Retrospectives

Continuously identify what's working and what can be improved


A Project Retrospective

A completely successful project is one which you would like to repeat in exactly the same way next time
-- Norm Kerth in Project Retrospectives

A retrospective is a rigorous, future-focused process for capturing the wisdom of lessons learned, best practices, and multiple perspectives for continuous improvement of software development and work environment. Unlike a more typical review session, the retrospective does not stop at a list of items, but continues on to establish next steps, accountabilities and measures for making the improvements happen.

Retrospectives come in several flavors: interim, custom and end-of-project.


An Iteration Retrospective

Interim retrospectives may occur as regularly as a heartbeat at the end of every iteration in a release or irregularly at the end of a partial release or as needed. Interim retrospectives are typically shorter than end-of-project retrospectives. The duration of the retrospective is linked to the length of time on the project or the significance of the issues to be addressed.

Custom or surprise retrospectives are triggered by an unexpected event that requires a pause to reflect and re-evaluate before going forward again.

At the end of a project, a team and organization stand to learn a great deal by reflecting on their experiences. More than just a simple review, an end-of-project retrospective gives a team a chance to tap into discoveries about what works or doesn't work in their environment. By conducting retrospectives at the end of projects, organizations can become skilled at acquiring and using collective wisdom, accessing best practices, collecting and comparing effort data, avoiding faulty decisions and assessing the chances for success of further innovations.

Further Reading

Project Retrospectives by Norm Kerth
Norm Kerth's website

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