Data-driven Sprint Retrospective
While it is important for the team to collect feedback regularly to improve the product during Sprint Review, it is equally crucial for the team to continuously reflect to improve their working process and this is done during Sprint Retrospective. Sprint Retrospective is usually the last Sprint Ceremonies, which occur after Sprint Review and before the upcoming next Sprint Planning. During Sprint Retrospective, the team will gather together to deliberately reflect on how are they doing and discover ways to improve for the next Sprint. Over time, the team will inspect and adapt together to progress through Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development of forming, storming, norming and eventually performing when they find their unique team working style.
In order to make Sprint Retrospective effective for the team, a lot of reflection and discussion need to take place among the team, so that any blocks or new ways of improvement can be identified collectively to be resolved or implemented respectively. One way to encourage these conversations is to facilitate Sprint Retrospective with Data-Driven approach using a Sprint Retrospective Dashboard.
The Sprint Retrospective Dashboard displays the agenda of the session from left to right: Guidelines, Past Trend, Past Retro, Retro and Action Items with their respective timing. ScrumMaster will setup the dashboard before the Sprint Retrospective and display it during the session. With the dashboard, the team will know the agenda clearly, allowing better time-boxing during the session.
Vision: Let the team know why are they building the product to help them see them the bigger picture, so that they will be motivated as well as work in alignment with the business value.
Ground Rules: Ensure that the Sprint Retrospective is productive for everyone by reminding everyone to be focus during the session and that the session is a safe environment to provide feedbacks.
Definition of Done (DoD): Examine whether is there any changes need to make to the DoD when new features and/or processes are implemented in the Sprint. Going through DoD again also help the team to recap what arethe expectations of a done feature for the future Sprints.
Sprint Goals: Recap what are the Sprint Goals and reflect what are ones that are achieved and not achieved and why.
Sprint Burnup Chart: Examine the flow of the user stories using Sprint Burnup/Burndown Chart and reflect how are user stories being developed, tested, rejected or accepted through the Sprint and why.
Done List: Recap what are the user stories that accepted and reflect on the journey of the user story acceptance.
Project Trends: Understand the project key indicators of the Sprint including velocity, stories accepted, story cycle time and rejection rate and reflect on the indicators as compared to past Sprints and why.
With the understanding of the data points from the Past Trend, the team will discuss about the effectiveness of the action items from the previous Sprint. If the action item is effective, the action item will be marked as completed. Otherwise, the uncompleted action items will be moved to the Retro to be discussed. This provide a closure to the previous Sprint and ensure that all the past action items are followed up before starting the discussion for the Retro for the current Sprint.
With the data points from the Past Trend and closure of the past actions in Past Retro, the team are ready to brainstorm for ways to improve. During the brainstorming, ScrumMaster can make use of data points to ask stimulating questions to encourage the conversation among the team. Examples of such questions can be “Our velocity has decreased as compared to the previous Sprint, what do think may have result this?”, “Seem like there is a lot WIP during the middle of the Sprint, is there any blocks?” or “Our rejection rate has spiked up a lot in this Sprint, what may be the cause?”
When the brainstorming is completed, the team will proceed to group the ideas or issues into their themes. Then the team will vote for the top 3 action items to be carry out for the next Sprint with each action item having at least one owner.
The last item for the Sprint Retrospective is the team rating of the Sprint. ScrumMaster will ask each member of the team to give a rating from 0 to 5, with 5 being the best and 0 being the worst with no explanation needed. This allow ScrumMaster to collect data points about how does the team feel about the Sprint and can make comparison to the previous Sprints. In additional, if one member of team provides a rating that differ greatly from the rest, ScrumMaster can follow up with the member separately after the session.
Sprint Retrospective is an essential part of Scrum to allow the team to continuously improve together to achieve their best. With data points from Past Trends, the team will be able to discover better and more ideas for improvement, enabling the Sprint Retrospective to be more effective and productive.