Some Agile pundits feel a newer technique known as Scaled Retrospectives has the potential to bring success to enterprises embracing the concept. But what is this new concept? Is it yet another Agile-related buzzword trying to disrupt the software development process?
What follows is an introduction to Scaled Retrospectives and its potential impact on software engineering. Maybe they will help take your IT management career to another level? In any case, it is a concept you need to add to your Agile knowledge base.
A Closer Look at Scaled Retrospectives
Scaled Retrospectives are items within any sprint or project task list meeting these three criteria.
- The selected item is outside the sprint team’s sphere of control to change
- It’s impeding the team’s ability to deliver
- Something needs to be done about it
The methodology for indentifying these “Scaled Retro” items – both across individual teams as well the enterprise as a whole – helps to discover any inherent larger patterns impacting the software development process for the entire company. They offer valuable insight on what issues typically prevent teams from completing their sprints in a timely fashion.
While Jason describes the time consuming process to identify, catalog, analyze, and report on the Scaled Retrospectives, he feels the effort is more than worth it when considering the benefits provided to the entire organization. At his organization, the task became more streamlined over time, especially once the individual teams began to see benefits. In fact, team leaders started to collaborate with each other to come up with solutions to some of the common problems identified in the exercise.
Benefits of Scaled Retrospectives
Jason noted his first Scaled Retrospective process revealed 70 percent of the software development teams felt their company needed to make an investment in automated builds. It illustrates how the Scaled Retro effort allowed the voice of individual developers to carry additional weight by scaling their opinions across the entire enterprise. Senior IT leaders benefit from focusing on the output of the process, instead of parsing through one-hundred emails from developers saying “we need automated builds.”
Any enterprise serious about embracing the Continuous Improvement methodology at their shop needs to look at implementing the Scaled Retrospectives concept to ensure an accurate reading on what items actually warrant a better approach. Your career isn’t the only thing that will benefit!
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