A simple retrospective exercise I like to use is the ‘one-word retrospective’ found in Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives by Luis Gonçalves and Ben Linders. This exercise is particularly useful for helping teams deal with their feelings.
Simply ask every team member to summarize in one word how they felt about the last sprint.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the size of user stories in agile projects. The idea that I’ve been reflecting on is what if teams only worked with small, similarly-sized pieces of work, rather than exponentially larger blocks of work?
In theory, small user stories should be more predictable, should include less risk, less uncertainty and less complexity. They should, therefore, take less time to complete than larger user stories… you would think! Or as Mike Cohn put it in Agile Estimating and Planning (Prentice Hall, 2006), “small stories keep work flowing”.
One of my favourite books on agility is The People’s Scrum (Dymaxicon, 2013) by Tobias Mayer.
A lot of books on agility focus on the mechanics of how it all fits together, who needs to be where doing what with whom in order for the machine to work more effectively.
This book is different. It focuses not on the how, but challenges the why. It is open to critically questioning every aspect of agile with the intention of uncovering the core drivers behind agile practices.
Last Thursday evening, I gave a presentation entitled ‘Using business process modelling for creating a definition of ready and definition of done’ at the second Lean Agile Dundee meet-up at SolarWinds.