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Agile Development

The retrospective is the heartbeat of the project

by Jon Fazzaro
on January 21, 2016

Importance of Retrospectives in ScrumSometimes it beats slowly, sometimes quickly. Sometimes it thumps desperately, sometimes it whispers. Sometimes a doctor is listening.

But if it stops, the project is in trouble. The work may still get done by the individuals on the team, but it will no longer be done by the team itself. One nerd goes one way, one nerd goes the other way. Their efforts collide and cause problems that take more time to unwind than they would have ever spent communicating about things up front, a few minutes at a time.

In the retrospective, people on a team hear each other's ideas, catch each other's mistakes, and win each other's esteem. Great software is created by a team that performs as a single entity, and the retrospective meeting is its heartbeat.

Your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body. It does not stop when you sleep, when you eat, when you work, when you are happy, when you are afraid, or when you are devastated.

When you are exhausted, it does not stop to save energy. It stops when you are done with your body.

It will never save any time or money to stop the heartbeat of the project.

If you really think your team doesn't need to have a retrospective meeting every couple of weeks, prove it. With science. Stop retrospecting for two weeks. At the end of the sprint, talk with your team about how it went. If it was awesome, commit to skipping it again until the next sprint.

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Jon Fazzaro
Jon took this whole nerd thing pro well over a decade ago and has been slinging code with Aptera since 2008. He holds an MCSD, a PSM, a PSD, a PSPO, and is a BMF besides. These days, he may or may not be unhealthily consumed with building sustainable software, and with building teams that build sustainable software. Whatever you do, don’t follow @jonfazzaro on Twitter.
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