Retrospectives are incredibly valuable and if you’re not doing them regularly, you’re doing yourself and your team a great disservice. Assuming that your teams are actively engaged in development activity, you may not be maximizing the value to its full potential. Great retrospectives can rapidly turn a good team into an even better team, but it does require an investment of time.
Naturally you’ll say or hear, “how much time are we talking about because I’m busy and have a lot to do?” Does this sound familiar? My response as an Agile coach is, “as much time as it takes.” Retrospectives don’t require a blank check; however, you also don’t want to wrap a time constraint (see Parkinson’s Law) around it. Instead, let the retrospective take as much time as it needs, sometimes more and sometimes less.
Because of basic human nature, teams will take on the same dynamics as families. You may disagree, laugh, argue, celebrate and, at times, even shed a tear together. Retrospection allow teams to have honest conversations with each other and provide the time and a safe space to do so. Time constraints, such as time-bound meeting invites, can unknowingly sabotage your retrospective.
Good teams are like friends, but amazing teams are like family – give them the time and space they need and deserve without constraint.