Regardless of how good your Scrum team is, there is always room for improvement. A good Scrum team will always focus on continuous improvement opportunities like the team should set a goal, and have a scheduled period of the plan at the end of the each Sprint. Therefore, it reflects on how they are going to find the ways to improve.
This will be happening during the “Sprint Retrospective”.
Sprint retrospective provides an opportunity to the entire Scrum team to stop running along for a short time and think. The Sprint Retrospective is a timebox of Scrum teams, free to inspect what’s happening, investigate the way they work, identify better ways to improve and make plans to execute these improvements.
Everything that has an effect on how the Scrum team creates the product is open to survey and practices, discussion, communication, including processes, tools, artifacts, environment, and so on.
In the Scrum framework, the sprint retrospective plays an important role with least-valued practices. It is very important as it offers Scrum teams the possibility to adopt Scrum to their different situations. It is unpopular since some people have a wrong assumption that it will take a long time in designing, building, testing the work.
Scrum offers continuous improvements with the support of Sprint retrospective. The team members have to do retrospection for every iteration, allowing them to accept benefits of inputs and data before they are lost. Since the team members meet at the close of each iteration to adapt and inspect their Scrum process, it can apply earlier with its increasing learning throughout the development process and thereby considerably affect the deliverables of the project.
By this Sprint Retrospective approach, each team member should identify the specific things done by themselves:-
Based on their discussions, team members decide to make changes and then proceed to the coming sprint with an incrementally improved process.
The Sprint retrospective includes all members of the Development Team, the Product Owner, and the Scrum Master. Collaboratively, these team members have a strong and distinct set of perspectives that are necessary for identifying process improvements from various points of view.
The Scrum Master attends the Retrospective because he/she acts as an essential part of the process and is also authorized for the Scrum Team. But it doesn’t mean that the Scrum Master has an authority to change the Scrum process. Instead, he/she can point out where the team is not adhering to its own agreed-upon processes and also be a useful source to share knowledge and ideas for the team members. The Scrum Master ensures that these meetings take place and the members of the team understand its purpose.
The stakeholders or managers who are directly not a part of the Scrum team should attend a retrospective only when they are invited by the Scrum team. It must also be noted that even though transparency is considered as a core Scrum value, it is not strongly observed in many of the real-time Scrum projects and teams. At any point in time, the team members should feel secure while having candid discussions about the issues they are facing. If the Scrum team members hesitate to open up about the impediments just because the external participants (stakeholders) are also attending the meeting, the retrospective will lose its value.
The Sprint Retrospective is usually done as the final ceremony in the Sprint. This meeting is done immediately after the Sprint review and prior to the next Sprint planning.
The Sprint Retrospective should entail a well-defined focus. During the current Sprint, the default focus is to review all related aspects of the Scrum Team process. Communicating and Establishing are the two key concepts to focus before the beginning of the Retrospective meeting that allows the Scrum Team members to decide whether non-Scrum team members should be invited or not. Moreover, understanding the scope before the retrospective starts that enables the team to choose relevant retrospective exercises and provide sufficient amount of time to collect and prepare any data needed to ensure a smooth performance of the retrospective.
Once we have fixed the scope and finalized individuals for the next Retrospective, we can establish which exercises may help participants to engage, explore, think, and decide together. The standard Retrospective includes exercises like ‘brainstorm insights’ and ‘group and vote on insights’. However, we may choose to select various exercises to support a specific focus or a set of participants.
The sprint retrospective meeting is done with the full responsibility of the Scrum team. The Scrum team selects the location which is most convenient to achieve successful deliverables. But few teams prefer to have their retrospectives in the standard team area where they may have large visible charts. This provides them with the scope to improve the relevant information. A few others do not accept to meet in the standard team area, maybe they like to set an environment with less emotional satisfaction where people might feel reserved and more likely to speak freely. Meeting should be done in a safe environment where team members feel free to open up, rather than in a grand location.
Even though the Scrum Master will often act as an effective facilitator for the sprint retrospective, any other team member can be capable of fulfilling the role of retrospective facilitator. Choosing a neutral, skilled and outside facilitator is the best solution to help team members either to guide them through a specific complex retrospective or get started doing retrospectives where an internal facilitator might not be successful in implementing this. Instead, in many organizations with several Scrum teams with different Scrum Masters, it is usually helpful and enlightening to all involved to have the ScrumMaster of one Scrum team to facilitate the retrospective of a different Scrum team. We have to find out who is going to facilitate the retrospective during the rework.
Choosing a neutral, skilled and outside facilitator is the best solution to help team members either start working on retrospectives
Although the ScrumMaster will often act as and can be quite effective as the facilitator for the sprint retrospective, any capable team member can fulfill the role of retrospective facilitator. There are also times when bringing in a skilled, neutral, outside facilitator might be the best solution to help team members either get started doing retrospectives or to assist them through a particularly difficult or sensitive retrospective where a closely aligned, internal facilitator may be far less successful. Alternatively, in organizations with multiple Scrum teams with different Scrum Masters, it is often helpful and enlightening to all involved to have the ScrumMaster of one Scrum team facilitate the retrospective of a different Scrum team. We should establish who is going to facilitate the retrospective during the prework.
During the Sprint Retrospective Meetings, the Scrum team goes in different ways to improve the quality of a product by adapting or improving work processes according to the definition of “Done” and if it is not appropriate or conflicts with the product or organization standards.
Similar to the Sprint Review meeting, the Sprint Retrospective also happens at the close of each Sprint. Many teams will do it directly after the sprint review. It should happen on the same day, at the same place and time for every Sprint.
The correct length of the Retrospective meeting is determined with regard to a few aspects. Those are:-
All the meetings in Scrum are time boxed. The Sprint Retrospective meeting has a Time-Box of 2 hrs (2 weeks Sprint) / 4 hrs (4 weeks Sprint). The Scrum team is responsible to schedule the Sprint Retrospective meeting that is held up to an hour, which usually is quite sufficient for a shorter sprint. However, sometimes conflicts arise among team members that stretch the retrospective meeting to a longer duration.
During the Sprint Retrospective, the inputs given to retrospection includes the agreed-upon focus for the retrospective and any materials and exercises may be used by the team members. Further, retrospectives require at least some previous collected, objective data. And a single piece of input given to every participant would bring the result with their individual data concerning the present sprint. One more retrospective input is a backlog of data built in prior retrospectives.
The above figure shows the process of the Sprint Retrospective activity.
The output of the sprint retrospective comprises of a set of tangible improvements that the team members have agreed to achieve in the upcoming sprint. The output may also contain a backlog of inputs gathered during the present retrospective that the Scrum team will not place in the next sprint but they may choose to locate in the further sprints.
After completion of the Sprint retrospective meeting, the Scrum team should identify and make a note of improvements that have to be implemented in the next Sprint. All these improvements get voted commonly on specific items by the teams to focus on the coming Sprint. Adapting all these improvements in the next Sprint is an inspection mechanism of the Scrum team itself.
At any point in time, you can improve your sprint retrospective through a few simple steps shown below-