The challenge

How do I do a retrospective that feels like a live meeting though we are distributed?

I have recently started working with a new team. We are distributed in two locations with a 7-hour time difference. We have not met in person (yet). We use slack for our daily communication, using it both for text communication and audio calls. In the retrospectives we always use video since it’s so much better to get the feeling of being closer to each other.

My team had a history of using the 4L retrospective technique every sprint for a long time. They used slack video call and confluence for documentation during the meeting.

I wanted to do something different, and I wanted the retro to be as much like a live meeting as possible.

The solution

I read about the Speedboat retro and really wanted to try it, but I was not sure how I could make it work with the team being distributed.

I had a vision of us using an online sticky tool and putting our stickies on the picture of the pirate ship.

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In our breakfast seminar ”Agile change management” the participants each get a deck of Pattern Cards and are asked to choose the pattern that is most challenging for them right now.

Over 100 people have been asked this question. These are the top 3 challenges:

  1. WIP – limit work in progress
  2. Optimize for flow
  3. Minimal bureaucracy

Wip limit pattern card

What is WIP?

WIP is an acronym for Work In Progress and basically means how many different things are being worked on at the same time.

Many agile methods, like Kanban, strives to limit WIP, to reduce the number of concurrent initiatives.

Why should I limit WIP?

When you have many concurrent initiatives, working on many different things at the same time, you might feel effective, but in truth you are not.

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