Improving Agile Retrospectives: Helping Teams Become More Efficient

by Marc Loeffler

In Improving Agile Retrospectives, leading agile coach/trainer Marc Loeffler combines practical guidance, proven practices, and innovative approaches for maximizing the value of retrospectives for your team―and your entire organization. You can apply his powerful techniques in any project, agile or otherwise. These techniques offer exceptional value wherever continuous improvement is needed: from “lessons-learned” workshops in traditional project management to enterprise-wide change management.

Loeffler’s detailed, results-focused examples help you recognize and overcome common pitfalls, adapt retrospectives to your unique needs, and consistently achieve tangible results. Throughout, he integrates breakthrough concepts, such as using experimentation and learning from system thinking. He presents small ideas that make a big difference―because they’re deeply grounded in real experience.

Marc Loeffler

Marc Loeffler

Marc Loeffler is a keynote speaker, author, and agile coach. Before encountering agile methods and principles in 2006, he was working as a traditional project manager for companies like Volkswagen AG and Siemens AG. His passion is to help teams implement agile frameworks like Scrum and XP and to transform our world of work. Marc has a passion for helping teams that are struggling with agile transitions and overcoming dysfunctional behavior. He loves to generate new insights by approaching common problems from the other side and trying to wreak havoc on the process deliberately.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1  Retrospectives

  1. What Is a Retrospective?     
  2. New Year’s Eve Retrospective     
  3. The Retrospective Phase Model  
  4. Finding Activities for Each of the Phases    
  5. The Prime Directive    

Chapter 2  Preparing Retrospectives    

  1. Preparation    
  2. The Right Time, the Right Place    
  3. The Right Material   
  4. Food    
  5. The Agenda    

Chapter 3  The First Retrospective    

  1. Preparation    
  2. Set the Stage: Car Comparison    
  3. Gather Data   
  4. Generate Insights: 5 Whys    
  5. Define Next Experiments: Brainstorming    
  6. Closing: ROTI 

Chapter 4  The Retrospective Facilitator    

  1. How Do I Become a Good Facilitator?    
  2. Visual Facilitation    
  3. Visual Retrospectives    
  4. Internal or External    
  5. After the Retro Is Before the Retro    

Chapter 5  From the Metaphor to the Retrospective    

  1.  The Orchestra Retrospective    
  2. The Soccer Retrospective    
  3. The Train Retrospective    
  4. The Kitchen Retrospective    
  5. The Pirate Retrospective    

Chapter 6  Systemic Retrospectives

  1. Systems    
  2.  System Thinking    
  3. Complexity Thinking    

Chapter 7  Solution-Focused Retrospectives    

  1. The Solution-Focused Approach 
  2. A Solution-Focused Retrospective in Five Steps    

Chapter 8  Distributed Retrospectives    

  1. Forms of Distributed Retrospectives    
  2.  The Right Tools    
  3.  General Tips for Distributed Retrospectives    

Chapter 9  Alternative Approaches 

  1. Work Retrospectives    
  2. Fortune Cookie Retrospectives    
  3.  Powerful Questions    

Chapter 10  Typical Problems and Pitfalls    

  1. Poor Preparation    
  2. A Lot of Discussions but No Results 
  3. Too Many Results   
  4. Disinterest in (Further) Improvement 
  5. Focus on the Negative    
  6. Focus on Factual Topics    

Chapter 11  Change Management    

  1. Agile Change Management    
  2. Initiating Change Processes    
  3. Accompanying Change Processes