Thursday, March 3, 2016

Remote Retrospective Exercise example, using online google drawing documents

Having distributed team members is always a challenge  in many aspects in a scrum team. One of the challenges is performing a meaningful effective and with good results retrospective.  Using online techniques is one of the ways we can achieve that. This blog post will provide an example of an exercise performed few weeks ago with distributed scrum team.

**  This specific scrum team was created for a specific one time sprint, in this case they will not continue together as a team , so the goal of the retrospective exercise was to gather insights and suggestions to be used further down the road when forming  the next gen of scrum teams.

First up :
Google drawing templates for the session is created and shared in advanced with the team members.

Using google drawing allows all team members to work on a shared board , while view online results and outcomes and at the same time benefit from a good visibility and a relevant discussion over current retrospective events.

Each team member is seated by his own PC, using headphones and proper online communication.

1. Create virtual retro google template with sprint timeline and mood icons.

 2. "Create virtual retro board and pre-create blank stickies and voting chips for each participant in advance of meeting.  Alternatively, you can open the Remote Retrospective Template* in Google (you'll need to 'Make a Copy' to be able to edit it). " 

Set the stage : Est. 10 min

Introduce retrospective technique and goal.

Next : Use the virtual retro google template with sprint timeline and mood icons.

*This short exercise goal is to give a brief view to all participants over the overall mood of the sprint , acting as a teaser to the next exercise of collecting relevant information related to it.
The wonderful thing with this exercise is the fact that it is being done anonymously and yet we get good feeling over team members mood and view over the sprint .

Ask the team member to take 3 min and to silently place icons through the sprint timeline reflecting their mood during the spring.
Each team member should also glade the total score of sprint mood.

  • As a coach Reflect what we see.
  • Ask for short response if there are any thoughts.

Gather data E2E:

Set Up - Est. 10 Min
Use the  virtual retro board . Explain How to Use The Board and ask each team member to create  his own create  space on the board.

"If this is the first time your participants are using Google Drawing, take a few minutes to show them the basics.  Although the tool is very intuitive, you will lower anxiety by showing how easy it is to: drag a shape >  double-click to edit > enter text."

I realized that team members just love this boar. Each member creates his /hers own creative space on the board , changing colors and adding pictures. This part was a really fun part .

Step 2: Create and Add Stickies reflecting each team member thought- Est. 10 Min
I time-box this part of the retrospective to 10 minutes.  Each person adds their thoughts (1 per stickie) to the his personal space Stickies .

Step 3: presenting items and listening to the pain - Est. 40 Min

Each team member presets shortly ( 1-5 min) his/her items and adds it to the 4 different areas on the board  for item. 

*Make sure ,adding  good things is also a must

**Because of the nature of this current team sprint and the general mood chart results (unhappy team mood for this sprint)  it was highly important to hear each and every team member thought instead of just performing other silent less time consuming techniques for gathering huge amount of data. 

***You can also do this exercise differently using    silent grouping

While the discussion progress group similar stickies raised  together.

This exercise facilitation should be carefully handled , pointing out main pain/ gain issues while team members presents this view .      

*We were able to identify the most painful issues while adding the insights to the board.

Optional : Step 4: prioritize items  - 10 min
Optional for this exercise :After all items have been read, each person can assign 3 "voting chips" to the groupings that they think are more important.
Take time to discuss winning items.

*We didn’t take this step, since we were able to identify the most painful issues while adding the insights to the board.
Instead , we asked team members to add suggestions for solutions

Step 5 : Suggestions and identify actions - -Est. 10 Min - 30 Min
As a group, discuss the groupings of items starting with the items that received the most votes or with those identified during the session. Suggest which activities the team wants to continue and what the team wants to do differently.  Identify a few action items that the team can commit to in the upcoming iteration. In addition for further discussion , suggest ways of improvement.



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  2. This was a really nice post! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts on this . We also provide services Online Retro Board etc you can visit.