During a coaching session with @MaLainDa we had a short discussion about retrospectives. What is a retrospective ? More than that, why do we run and enjoy retrospectives ? What is at stake ? What happens ?
Is it a way to solve problems, by zooming on key issues during the session, taking sometimes the time to run a root cause analysis to take the most efficient actions ?
Is it a way to share risks evaluations, and to start mitigation actions ?
Is it a way to learn, to improve the commonly accepted model of the project : the goals, the people, the constraints, the strategy, the agreed way to proceed (the best we can think about), the communication means and paths, event the history of the project…?
Is it a way to align every body on the necessity to improve, at every level ? To share improvement axis ? To share ambition levels ?
Is it a way to build the team, by showing and feeling that every voice has a value, that every demand can be expressed and will be listened to ?
Is it a way to heal the wounds and share the emotions raised by events lived together ( efforts, failures, successes ) ?
Is it the time when to solve untold resent and personal conflicts before it is too late ? The 5 whys used by root cause analysis can be very incisive when it comes to go beyond the “it’s not me it’s him” stage. The human system is at fault, not its members.
It is all that. It is a priviledged moment where the whole team stops building, steps back, and thinks to whatever is needed for the team to work better. It is my favorite moment to coach the team as a group, by making sure that the group thinks at its best towards a greater performance. When my time on a project runs short, it is the last ritual I stop attending as a coach.
See Esther Derby, always sharp, about running rich retrospectives.