When I'm on a scrum team I normally like to fascilitate the sprint retrospectives.
You know the meeting we have at the end of each sprint where we ask three questions:

  • What was less good this sprint?
  • What was good this sprint?
  • What thing can we improve going forward?

And then we want to communicate our findings so that people in ther organisation see what we are doing, what our problems are and so forth, hopefully so that someone reacts and says:

"Hey, I might be able help them fix that".

But the retrospective also serves as kind of a catharsis for the team and its members.
A lot of time there are things that we want to just get off our chests, but we really don't want that to make it's way to the person or team in question for one reason or another.

A while back I was a participant in a retrospective and we had something we wanted to get off our chests.
The scrum master fascilitating the retrospective then immediately drew a fan on the whiteboard, and said:

"There. Ventilate."

I liked the analogy the fan made. A lot of times we just want to blow off steam and let out hot air.
Thats what the fan represents.
Once we've spoken the words, a lot of times that is enough for us and we feel better already.

But in order for people to open up and share their thoughts and feelings they need to feel they are in a safe environment, and by establishing some ground rules for the retrospecitve I try to make the participants feel safe.

  1. We will take notes here on what comes up today
  2. The notes will be communicated to people within the organisation
  3. But if there is something you dont want to leave these four walls, then say so and we don't make a note of it.

Finally I just got to mention that if you are interested in fascilitating better retrospectives I got to recommend the following book by Ester Derby and Diana Larsen.

What other tips and tricks do you have hidden up your sleeve for fascilitating a retrospective?
Leave a comment and share.