It has been more than 20 years since the first introduction of Agile principles, and today Agile practices are widely accepted. Among the many benefits of Agile, one of the most overlooked and distinguishing ones is a customer retrospective. The Manifesto for Agile Development defines a retrospective as, “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” Simply put, retrospectives, or retros, highlight what is working well and what is not working well. The idea is to reflect on experiences with the motivation to improve continually.
MBA CSi embraces customer retrospectives. Our approach is to conduct customer retrospectives at least quarterly. The more frequent the retrospective, the better the team can better identify and track risks. Each key customer or stakeholder is invited to speak candidly to ensure all team members hear valuable first-hand feedback. Customers and teams collaborate in a formal, retro meeting, usually with a dedicated and independent facilitator. We find that an independent facilitator encourages everyone to share opinions and experiences so that a team can learn, collaborate, and improve. It is essential to recognize there are always ways to innovate and grow. Retros offer the opportunity to celebrate milestone successes, and also to identify blockers—issues or anything that slows down a schedule.
The goal of the retro discussion is to identify actions that are documented on posters or whiteboards. Usually, there are dozens of yellow stickies of action items and observations posted around the meeting room. Sticky notes are merely a placeholder for face-to-face collaboration and discussions. The facilitator gathers unique action items and ensures each one is assigned to an individual or owner.
MBA CSi and its GovCon clients find infinite value with retrospectives. These sessions always encourage thought leadership and innovations. Our experience ensures a smooth partnership with our customers and, more importantly, a better way of doing business.
Author: Mark Colturi, MBA CSi’s COO
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