Values-Driven Retrospective

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Value Gauges

Objectives

To continuously improve your team and your work through value-driven Retrospectives to ensure the team remains value driven.  It also serves as a highly visible reference to reflect on the team’s actions and commitments throughout the day.

Dependencies
You need to have defined values that the teams have committed to prior. We use the Agile values of Commitment, Openness, Focus, Respect, and Courage (See Scrumallance.org Code of Ethics) .

When
We do this every monthly staff meeting during a part of the meeting we call the Department Retrospective, where we discuss how we are progressing as a team. You can do this during any regular meeting or during your Scrum Retrospective.

How

  1. The facilitator provides a quick overview of the team values.
  2. The facilitator takes a value, and asks the team, to get an initial pulse, “How do you feel we are doing in value x“. The facilitator asks the team to rate the value from one to five, using the Fists-to-Five consensus technique.  Make sure to try to get the team to vote all at once, since, some members may be unconsciously influenced by another’s vote.  You could also use Planning Poker instead of  Fists-to-Five to gain consensus.
  3. The facilitator polls the the group if there is a significant variation in the votes. For example, she might ask, “For the ’5′s’, Why did you vote 5? For the ’2′s’, why did you vote 2?”.  Allow a short time for discussion.
  4. Now that the team has a deeper understanding of others perspectives, ask the team to vote again on the value using the  Fists-to-Five. Ask the team to commit to a number from the second round. If there is a significant divide, such as half 4′s and half 5′s, I take the lower number.
  5. Change the dial on the Value Gauge Card to the number agreed to.
  6. Do this for each value.
  7. Once you are done each value, ask the team: “Which value do we want to improve on until our next meeting?”. Gain commitment from the team through discussion and visual vote, such as  Fists-to-Five or thumbs up/thumbs down.
  8. Ask the team ”What is the one thing we can do to improve living this value?”. Stress that it is just one thing, since this brings focus and increases success of the improvement, rather than tackling too much and failing.
  9. Allow the team to discuss. Gain consensus and commitment to what the team will do to improve by the next Retrospective/meeting. Phrase the commitment into a Believe Statement: The Believe Statement format is: We Believe in [insert value], therefore we will [insert what we do] .  For example, our team’s “Believe Statement” was “We Believe in Courage, therefore we will have a team building get together so we can establish a safer environment to be courageous with one another. “
  10. Write the Believe Statement and post it in a visible place for the team.  I recommend placing the Believe Statement on to the Value Gauge Card so it reminds the of our current status and that we are doing something specifically to improve it. It is also handy so that you do not forget to review your results in your next Retrospective.
  11. Review your Believe Statement/Goal and the results the next meeting and then repeat the process.
Variations
360 Degree Leadership Feedback
After we completed this as a Team, I quickly went through it and asked the team if I, as the Director, was creating an environment that fostered these values. We went through the same process of rating and creating a one Believe Value Statement Goal.  This allowed some great feedback for how I can improve for the team and also provided a great example to foster, in what the book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” calls, Vulnerable Based Trust.
Apply it in the Classroom with Students
You could easily use this in the classroom with students, as, well. Many schools use the 6 pillars of Character  for character education which could work very well in a Classroom Retrospective.
Summary
Your  team may really enjoy the Values-Driven Retrospective game. It brings some issues to light, but, more importantly, what values your team is living superbly. It can break the monotony of the usual Retrospective and into a deeper level of meaning.  As you go through several iterations of this retrospective, it might be useful to have a chart plotting progress over time. It also provides a good guide for developing Team Working Agreements and other team decisions.
Contributed by John Miller
originally posted by John Miller on the The Agile School Blog theagileschool.blogspot.com
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