It seems like retrospectives are still one of the more challenges agile activities/ceremonies to execute and get right. Which is somewhat surprising to me in that it’s a fairly simple activity. For example –
A team sits down periodically to look in the mirror and brainstorm way(s) to improve themselves.
How hard can that be?
We could also apply the word kaizen or kaizen event to it. Here’s a snippet as to what Wikipedia has to say about its meaning –
The Japanese word kaizen means "change for better", with inherent meaning of either "continuous" or "philosophy" in Japanese dictionaries and in everyday use. The word refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small, in the same sense as the English word "improvement".
Again, it’s a simple, yet core element of your agile culture and I don’t necessarily understand why it’s so challenging. But let me share a few stories to illustrate the point that it IS challenging. At least to do it well…
I read an article on LinkedIn by Ewan O'Leary that really, really resonated with me.
I fell in love with his list. Mostly because it shined a light on my own journey and the work I need to do each and every day to become a better, more present, and more connected coach.
#5 is an area where I often fall down in my journey. I sometimes use the term "that's not Agile" in my coaching, passing judgment and elevating agile above everything else. I need to stop that. I also continuously check on #8 as I engage so many people and contexts as a leading agile coach.
Anyway, without further adieu, here's the list:
- I believe in the innate value and potential of all human beings.
- I believe that Agile is a mindset that orients me towards human excellence.
- I believe that my own transformation is the path to transforming others, transforming organizations and transforming the world.
- I believe that I should do no harm, and wherever possible, improve psychological safety.
- I believe I should avoid judgement of others who I may feel are operating from a different developmental level.
- I embrace my own authenticity and share it in connection with others except where my authenticity may create unsafe conditions for them.
- I believe that I am oriented towards using my capability for good in the world.
- I practice humility and compassion, with a focus on kindness, recognizing my own shadow as it shows up in the work I do with others.
- I honor and respect each individual as the author of their own journey, free from manipulation or coercion.
- When I fail to adhere to these principles, I acknowledge my failure and its impact on others and harness it for my own development.
I am a Professional Agile Coach
I want to strongly encourage you to read Ewan's post and the comments it's received. There are great insights there as well.
And even though I'm continuously working on the list in my coaching and personal journey, I do believe: I am a Professional Agile Coach.
Stay agile my friends!
I wrote an article a few months ago about sprint reviewing the “hard stuff”. It was inspired by an engineer who asked me (challenged me) about demonstrating more back-end, embedded, non-UI, infrastructural work at the end of Scrum sprints.
His general take was that it was:
- Hard to figure out how to demo the “stuff” they were delivering, and
- The components didn’t lend themselves to demonstration (in simplistic terms, they didn’t have a UI)
I pushed back a bit in the article, trying to encourage him to demo “something” and not “go silent” for too long.