Agile Retrospectives

The approaching and start of a new year often triggers reflection and dreaming. Looking back at what happened during the last year, setting ambitions for the next. A former colleague of mine often said that it is our bad experiences that create our strongest desires for the future. That we at least are sure of that we don’t want that to happen again. However, our tendency to focus on trouble and problems is not necessarily always productive. We also need to remember the good, in order to make more of that happen. Happiness is not the equivalent of lack of unhappiness.

Esther Derby and Diana Larsen have combined the ideas behind agile software development with appreciative inquiry to a new way of doing Lessons Learned sessions. They call it “Agile Retrospectives”. Interested? Check out this brief and witty text, look at the informative and funny video or buy the book. I believe that this way of doing reoccurring formative (e)valuations of projects where you look at successes as well as challenges, but also document ideas and make sure that good contributions are recognised can create a permanent change in the organisation towards a more constructive approach in general. Creating what Gervase Bushe calls a transformational change.

Together with my research colleagues at the IT University and Ericsson I am looking into doing research in this direction. We will develop a Lessons Learned-tool that incorporates some of the ideas described above. The trick will be to also combine it with strength-based perspective while doing the research as well, using what I learned from being a guest editor for the special AI Practitioner issue on appreciative inquiry and research. An agile retrospective on the work on agile retrospectives. It’s all about appreciating recursion…


Esther Derby said...

Hi, Lena -

Diana and I developed the framework for agile retrospective to help teams think and learn together. Most of us are pretty good thinkers on our own...but have less experience doing so in a collaborative way. That might be another interesting sideroad to go down in your research.

Best regards,

Esther Derby (co-author, Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great)

Lena M Holmberg said...

Hi Esther,

I like your book "Agile Retrospectives" very much because it contains so many creative examples! I hope it will inspire many more researchers and practitioners, since I believe it to be an excellent way of creating both individual and organisational learning. Promise you'll let me know when you write your next book!!!

All the best,