"It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; its the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time"
While there are many effective retrospective exercises that a team can use for continual improvement, I tried falling back to Agile principles to check how the team is doing fundamentally and then used the findings as an input to an action item.
It is great that our teams are doing Agile well, it is not a bad idea to test how strong our foundation is. So here is an activity that we can perform with teams- Check our foundation (Could not find a better name)
1. Take a print out of 12 Agile principles and put today's date on top
2. Discuss one by one with team to get their understanding on each of them
3. Explain in detail what each principal actually intend to convey
4. Put a happy smiley if team follows it positively, sad one if they don't and a neutral one if they are not sure
5. Brainstorm the reasons for sad and neutral ones
6. Put an action plan in place to improve upon lagging ones, decide upon a time frame and group again to see how much the team has improved. It is advised not to take more than one sad and one neutral smiley at a time.
7.Feel free to involve upper management in the discussion. It will be a good Agile therapy session for them. It will also be motivating for the team to see their manager’s involvement
Iterating above activity for a few times will surely help the team in building a strong Agile foundation and will result into a mindset shift.
This exercise serves two main purposes:
1. Team has an improved understanding on Agile principles and now can relate it to their current work
2. Thought provoking discussions resulting into various improvement areas
Please try it with your teams and share your experiences.