Don’t Be An Agile Beatnick

How many retros are you involved in?
Usually a lot right? Most teams have one at least every two weeks.

What usually happens? Do you do the usual stop, start, continue?

Do you come out of your retros feeling uplifting and motivated to get some cool new stuff done?

I never used to, the retro used to be a thing that I hate, “ohh this shite again, there goes another hour of my life”.

Turns out my attitude was horrific, I had become an agile beatnik.

Now what is an agile beatnik you may ask?
It is basically Ned Flanders parents from the Simpsons, remember them? If not see the picture below.

Ned-Flanders-Parents-Hurricane-Neddy

They where awful parents, “we’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas”. That was me in retros. I was just complaining and not trying anything to fix problems. What used to happen after a retro, I would continue working the exact same way making the exact same mistakes and complaining about the exact same things in the next retro.

What was I doing wrong here? I was trying NOTHING new. Trying literally anything to fix the problems is better than just complaining.

So what can you do? Well have a think about your retro before hand. Write down all the stuff you want to complain about, and give it a google. You will be surprised that your problems are probably not unique. You may find some cool ideas to fix the problems, jot them down.

Now when you head into the retro stick up your problems, once they are up for discussion you can bring up some sample solutions. Now the fun begins, you get to suggest trialing something new for a few weeks. I suggest making one maybe two small changes and seeing what happens. Making too many changes can cloud the outcome. You wont be able to tell what worked and what didn’t, and this can very easily lead you back down the same old path. After you have decided the change to make as a team, try it as an experiment for a few weeks, at least until the next retro.

Now you are in a much better position. Make sure to keep an eye on the problem you are trying to solve with your new experiment. Also don’t get discouraged if your experiment fails, this is normal, learn why it didn’t work and change it. The important thing is you are trying something.

So try something, try anything, but don’t sit around and say you are all out of ideas when you have tried nothing.

Let me know how your experiments get on.

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