Agile Kerala 2013

Abstract

Title: Workshop – Retrospectives with large projects and multiple teams

Author(s):

Abhilash ChandranTwitter Id
Technical Project Manager
Xerox
India

Abstract:

Retrospectives are the one of the most integral components of any agile methodology. In scrum a retrospective is typically done after each sprint. This process is simple if team is small or only one team is working on a product. The problem starts increasing exponentially when many teams work on a single product. All the teams have ideas to improve the process and production. One team may have an entire opposite idea of another. How to bridge this gap?
Last project executed across different teams (onsite & offshore) and different departments was not a great success. How to learn from the past failures and apply it to future projects?
In this workshop cum discussion, I will be talking about some the points which can be easily followed in such scenarios. Usually such project retrospectives last couple of days.

In the first 30 minutes I will be discussing the following topics to set the stage. I briefly explain the format of the large retrospective followed by our group.
• Do’s and Don’ts of Retrospectives
• Typical Agile retrospective lifecycle with single team
• Retrospective with large projects ( multiple teams)
a. Select a venue
b. Setting the goal
i. Do and don’ts
ii. Working arrangements
iii. Aim of the discussion
c. Gather data
i. Find important email, documents , notes which can be used for discussion
d. The Act
i. Create a timeline for events
ii. Explain the events
iii. Note down the important points
e. Discussion
i. Categorize topics
ii. Create sub teams
iii. Present ideas
iv. Vote for the hot topics
f. Presentation
i. Summarize the output
ii. Reveal the hot items
iii. Circulate the key leanings
iv. Circulate the action items and method to track them
g. Toolkit for Large Retrospectives
Next 30 minutes I will ask the audience to form multiple teams and do a retrospective.

For 20 minutes we will a have a group evaluation of the retrospectives followed by Q/A
I will wrap my session with a 5 minute talk on the following
• Managing retrospectives
• Daily retrospectives
• Tracking action items
• Create a visible Task board with impediments

Why did we did this?

Normally in a scrum environment we have a single team with Product Owner; they do the retrospectives within team. Team identifies the issues and work on them. Many team falls into this category. It is pretty simple

Let’s complicate this further.

A big product with 10 scrum team
Each Team has different PO
Apart from these main stake holders there are many others who are interested in the success of this application

Sales team
Documentation team
UI design team
Architecture and performance team
In such a scenario, a retrospective at team level will be effective only at granular level. But it leaves a gap in few areas; it helps to bring all the teams together for one big retrospective

Apply the improvements made at each team level to the whole program
A team’s retro action item against the process followed by another team can be discussed at a higher level to find an optimal solution
Sometimes two team's retrospective action items may be contradictory. This gathering may point a third solution
Sr Product owners and manager will get all the teams together. A common focus and improvement plan can be shared across teams.

All team gets to know about the key concerns at the program level and with other teams.
Ultimately it gave a feeling of one big family.
My experience

Last large retro organized in our group was a big success. The sales team & architecture team had many ley lessons to take back from this meeting. Many issues were bought out which could have been solved with better co-ordination across team. Concrete action plans were made by team for the subsequent release. Some of the key findings were shared across other program teams also.


Key Output for audience
Understand the do and don’t of retrospectives
Knowledge/Understanding of a typical framework for doing retrospectives with a large audience or multiple teams

Keywords:

agile retrospective

Duration:

90 mins

Session Type:

Workshop

Comments:

I will need chart papers, sticky notes, marker pens, sticky dot markers and lot of questions

Topic(s):

Culture, People and Teams
Enterprise Agile
Leadership and Org Transformation
User Experience
Agile Adoption

 

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