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At Intel and at ThoughtWorks, I have had the chance to be part of Agile Teams. At ThoughtWorks, retrospectives are among the most passionate practices. There are several forms of retrospectives that this book suggests. As with many other practices in the agile methodology, tools end up taking precedence above the principles that drive them itself at times. The retrospective is a good example for this. Teams in retrospectives rarely come up with action-items that are original in nature. Even with the limited experience that I have working with enterprise applications, there is rarely a point brought up in the retrospective that I have not heard before. There are clear patterns that can be formed out of these action items. Some of these may seem familiar to even those of you who have not worked in Agile teams.

1) Stand-up Timings

2) More BA VolleyBalls

3) Moving the cards on the walls promptly.

4) QA s being flooded with responsibility.

5) Devs need to pair with QAs

6) Respond to onsite-mails(Taking ownership).

7) Teams having to work at odd hours

Among the most repetitive ones are

8 ) Acceptance Criteria changing in the course of the story being played

9) Story not being detailed enough.

10) Estimate of (usually one particular story) going off.

11) On-Site Presence.

I am sure that these are patterns that most people in retros would have formed themselves. I feel that that these are problems that deserve prototype-solutions. As with several other stages of development, its high time there were a set of solutions that were so well accepted that these problems will no longer be seen as problems itself. Or atleast as issues that can be solved with those prototype practices.

I wish not to debate with the concept of principles over practices. I wish to be pragmatic. Practices are easier for passionate people to follow and keep up to. I hope some of the more experiences folks come out with a standard set of retro problems and ready-made solutions.

Overheard a pragmatist(or did I??)…. practices over principles!

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2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By Retrospectives: Actions at Mark Needham on 06 Nov 2010 at 12:00 pm

    […] My colleague Ashwin Raghav wrote a blog post earlier in the week in which he noted some patterns that he's noticed in retrospectives in his time working in ThoughtWorks. […]

  2. […] My colleague Ashwin Raghav wrote a blog post earlier in the week in which he noted some patterns that he’s noticed in retrospectives in his time working in ThoughtWorks. […]

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