Usually a retrospective is to look at the past and then think of a way to improve your team’s process going forward. But what if this is your team’s last sprint together? Do you have a retrospective?
We were posed with this problem at a client. We had trained them a year before and they had successfully used Scrum for that year. Now the company was restructuring and this team was going to no longer exist – each of the people would be joining other teams. Their manager wanted a retrospective as she was hoping the team had learned some valuable lessons, and wanted them to take them with to their new teams.
We planned and ran the retrospective and we were very surprised by just how well it ran. It was a great way for the team to conclude their time together. Below is the plan we had for 90 minutes.
The team was 6 people plus the manager so 7 in total. We felt it was important for the manager to be part of this retrospective, however she was briefed to let team answer any questions before she did so that there would be less anchoring during the retrospective.
[5 min] Manager to set the stage. Why are we running their last retrospective and what is the purpose of it (as they are disbanding).
[5min] Check in: If this team was a household item – what would it be, and why?
[3min to think, 5 min for feedback] For each person in the room we stuck up an A4 piece of paper. Then we asked everyone to move around the room filling in the papers with: What does this person bring to this team? Think of strengths, skills, characteristics.
[10 min] Create a timeline. We made this for the year the team was together.
[15 min] Populate the timeline with events like training, conferences, major events – use only yellow stickies, one event per sticky.
[10 min] Populate the timeline with things you learned – use only blue stickies, one thing per sticky.
[5 min] We asked them to think about the future, and what the one most important thing is that they would like to take forward with them – using the timeline to remind them of everything that happened.
[5 min] Next we reminded the team of the agile manifesto and more specifically the format. We then asked them to craft a statement “I value … over …” based on the thing they want to take forward, and write it on an A4 piece of paper.
[10 min] Ask each person to read out their personal value statement and explain why
[10 min] As a team we asked them to create a “manifesto” poster with all of their value statements on it.
[5 min] To close the retrospective we had a ball toss, with the question “One word on how you are feeling about your new team”.
If you do use this plan for a team that is disbanding, please leave a comment to let us know how it goes.