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Retrospective Technique for Distributed Teams

9 March 2017

Bhargav Ram Vedula
Dell International Services


I believe every Scrum ceremony is important, and the primary ceremony where team members can exchange views and know themselves better is the retrospective. While we read many discussions of different techniques, here is a simple one that can be effective for colocated teams. 

The purpose of this technique is focused mainly for cross-functional locations but colocated employees. As a Scrummaster, I am sure we look at the last principle from the Agile Manifesto: “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” Though this ceremony is the primary method, teams to discover their potential and improve all along the way. However, the unfortunate thing is that often they do not show openness and courage at the right point.

Team members are not always comfortable with the idea of the retrospective. This technique helps handle the dysfunctions and unwind the challenges.

Commonly used office communicators (such as Microsoft Outlook and Skype for Business) are widely used and help make the retrospection effective. 
 

Steps

  1. Open Skype, invite the participants, and click on Present PowerPoint.

  2. Find your presentation path and click on it.
  3. In your presentation, you may give some data points or highlight previous retrospection points.

  4. When your team members are ready, allow them to click on the Annotation button and timebox it. (The Annotations icon is found on the upper-right side of the PPP.)

  5. Once everyone provides their opinion, discuss further to bring up improvements. Then you can save the slide. (Click More Options on Annotation, then Save As.)
I am sure most of you must be thinking, "How does this meet the criteria for openness?" Here is how: Neither the presenter nor the participants know who is writing what. We only read the point made on the board.

As it is anonymous, I have found that team members are much more willing to participate. Another advantage is that participants can at the same time, so they aren't repeating what they hear others say verbally.

You can visit the Options > Skype for Business (Lync) Meeting Options and change the settings as you find necessary. Refer to Support Lync for more details on using Lync.

I hope you try this and find it effective. As I believe that experiences can teach but we cannot teach experience, I wanted to share this technique, which I have found extremely helpful.

 

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.



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