Looking Back: Thoughts on Retrospectives for Large Organizations

As many have discussed before, one of the ways Scrum helps teams inspect processes and adapt to emerging conditions is through the retrospective meeting. To review, the retrospective meeting is a meeting which occurs at the end of every sprint.  At this time, team members come together to discuss the previous sprint and consider what worked, what didn’t, and what changes could be made to improve processes.  For those of you who want to take a deeper dive into how to utilize Retrospectives, Diana Larson and Esther Derby have written a great book on topic, called Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great.

But why isn’t there such a meeting at the program level to ensure that all teams are operating in sync with one another across multiple products? That’s precisely the question Paulo Caroli attempts to answer with something he calls a “Retrospective of Retrospectives,” InfoQ reports. For such scenarios, Caroli suggests that teams utilize a similar system to the more common “Scrum of Scrums,” in which a single representative from each of several teams meet to report and receive information on behalf of their team members. The same principle applies in a “Retrospective of Retrospectives.” In such instances, a single member from each team attends the “RoR,” as Caroli abbreviates it, to determine how efforts could be better coordinated at the program level.

What do you think? Does this solution seem consistent with Scrum to you? What are the drawbacks you see in such a solution?  If you travel over to the InfoQ article, you’ll see that some of the follow up comments are about team integrity – is it at risk?

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