Retro Kit

Continuous improvement is important for any team but sometimes it is hard to know how to start. To make it getting started easier me and a couple of Agile Coaches at Spotify have created the Retro Kit. We have been testing it internally and the reception has been very positive and since we have drawn knowledge from the community to create it we figured that it would only be right to share it back. Hope you find it useful! 🙂

The Retro Kit has been published on Spotify’s external blog, Spotify Labs.

 

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Epic Kick Off Cheat Sheet

A team I’ve been working with had a hard time gaining focus and having the sense of being a team. One of the reasons for this was that they were just working off the top of the backlog in their flow based workflow and the backlog was quite fragmented with a bunch of different initiatives and support for other teams tangled up. It was hard to get a sense of collaboration as a team and that they were achieving some bigger value together. To remedy this we introduced the practice of working on one (or sometimes two) epics at a time.

To kick off the work on the epic we introduced kick off meetings. In those we clarify why the epic is important, who the stakeholders are, risks and other important factors that are good to align on. Over time we have created a checklist of topics that we should cover and I have now compiled that checklist into a new Cheat Sheet that I thought may prove to be useful to others.

Please keep in mind that the kick off meeting shouldn’t take much more than 1 hour and the work you are planning shouldn’t span more than a few months. If it’s more you should probably ask yourself if you are making decisions too early.

One other thing worth noting is that we sometimes use tools like Impact Mapping “inside” of the epic when we are working towards an impact rather than a deliverable.

This tool has been useful to us and I hope it can be useful to you as well. 🙂

Epic Kick Off Cheat Sheet

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Stand-up Cheat Sheet

Since the Planning Cheat Sheet seems to have been useful to a few people I figured I’d go ahead and share another Cheat Sheet I put together a while ago. This time around it’s the Stand-up Cheat Sheet. The way I’ve used this is by printing it and posting it next to the boards of a few teams I’ve been helping lately.

The first bit under “How we do it” assumes you are doing Walk the board rather the old “what I did yesterday, what I’m going to today, impediments” style.

If you want more good ideas on how to improve your stand-ups I really recommend the blog post It’s Not Just Standing Up: Patterns for Daily Standup Meetings by my colleague at Spotify Jason Yip.

Stand-up Cheat Sheet

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Planning Cheat Sheet

A while ago I got approached by a team that was struggling with their sprint plannings. To help them help themselves I put together a Planning Cheat Sheet to give them some pointers. It has come to good use since and has caught some attention where I’m working so I thought I would share it here as well for others to use.

Please comment if you found it useful and/or if you would like some tweaks to it.

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Team (Squad) Health Check

Last year I was helping out at Spotify as an Agile Coach. One thing we developed/introduced when I was there was a new way of measuring how well the teams (or squads as they call them) are doing from a range of different perspectives. The coaches at Spotify have now blogged about this formats so I thought I would mention it here as well.

I can really recommend it as a tool to use in retrospectives. It lifts the discussions to cover important areas that might otherwise not be discussed. In my experience doing it on a quarterly basis works quite well.

The full blogpost can be found on Spotify Labs.

One thing they forgot to mention in the post that we initially had an “What card did we forget”-card. This was to discover important areas that we as coaches had forgotten. If someone were to adopt this tool to their context I would really recommend having that card.

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