Having everyone in a team be able to think about ways to improve and contribute is essential for any successful agile project. This is just as true of the humble retrospective. It’s at this point in time that having a team being able to reflect on the last sprint, feel like they are being heard, and contribute to delivering value to the next sprint can help deliver value to the project.

We share the experience of software development services company Mitrais and how they provide both value to clients and to their team when they tried out TeamRetro.

Rommy Rempas, the Competency Development Manager at Mitrais, emphasizes the importance of open collaboration in his team’s sprint retrospectives. He notes that “it is the time for their voice to be heard,” and that using a tool like TeamRetro has helped his team feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. By fostering an environment of open collaboration, Rommy’s team has been able to identify issues and improve their processes more effectively.

The Competency Development Group have been implementing Scrum at Mitrais since 2014 and took about a year before teams were familiar enough with the transition in order to implement projects without waiting for requirements to be baselined.

With this in mind, Rommy shared that success meant that ”the team is able to improve their skills while delivering the product and meeting the expectations of the stakeholder”. He went on to say that the teams have found more success through Scrum. The short iteration to release gives the team more opportunity to grow and learn based on periodic feedback, improving productivity and the team being able to better adapt to dynamic requirements.

Adding value with sprint retrospectives

The role of the sprint retrospective is important to Rommy’s team. The event gives his team the chance to reflect, learn from both their failures and successes, and then shape improvements. Rommy has found the action items generated through the meeting particularly useful.

Rommy’s tip when encountering a team who are not engaging with the retrospective is to focus on the benefits it offers. “I would coach the team. After all, without the retro, the benefit of having an incremental release could be lost. With each release, the team usually improves its capability and performance. The retro gives them this opportunity to reflect and improve.”

In addition to open collaboration, it is important to use tools that support a safe and engaging meeting. This can help ensure that all team members are able to participate fully in the retro and contribute to its success. Tools like TeamRetro provide a predefined workflow that helps guide the team through the retro process and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

“My team members enjoy doing the retro. It is the time for their voice to be heard. Using a product like TeamRetro helps a lot, especially since it has a predefined workflow that helps the team with their retro process.”

Engagement Leads to Buy-in and Overall Team Happiness

When team members are engaged and feel like their opinions and ideas are being heard, they are more likely to be invested in the success of the project and their work.

Rommy notes that his team members enjoy participating in retrospectives because it gives them the opportunity to be heard. By creating an environment of open collaboration and using tools that support engagement, Rommy’s team has been able to improve their experience of a team running a retrospective. This increased engagement has also led to improved team happiness, which has had a positive impact on the overall success of the project.

Tips for better retrospectives

If a team is struggling to follow through on their actions, Rommy’s advice is that support is the key. “Proper management support could be necessary to help the team to improve”. Whilst ideally each team should feel empowered to get things done, sometimes there is still a need for management to provide the tools, or the nudge to get things done.

Having a clear outcome and a shared definition of done is also important. A team needs to understand that work in progress does not bring value and that the goal is to deliver value in a timely manner at the right quality.

“We may also coach the team. It is important, for example, for everyone to commit to a Definition of Done (DoD) that is shared by the team. A DoD that is outside of team capability will become an issue.”

In terms of inviting people outside the team to sprint retrospective, Rommy has an inclusive approach. “If it’s relevant, why not?”. Having people outside the team from time to time provide useful insight, feedback and perspectives that can add to the team’s energy and bring new ideas to the retrospective.

His final piece of advice when it comes to sprint retrospectives?

“Just enjoy the process, retrospectives are fun.”

Who is Mitrais?

Mitrais has two lines of business – software development and software product services. Based in Indonesia, they offer a full range of software development capabilities including Microsoft, mobile, web, Java and more. Based in Indonesia, they offer a full range of software development capabilities including Microsoft, mobile, web, Java and more. Their product services cover the deployment and support of leading software products targeting the mining sector. These activities are backed by best-in-class human capital management systems and an integrated engagement model.

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