My iterations are one month long, so always on the last day of a month I take a few minutes to ask myself several questions.
- What has been done? What work has been completed?
The other questions require more time. I write my answers using my board and put them in the Retrospective column. If you are working on one project at a time, use the board of that project. If you have simultaneous projects, you don’t need to do this for each, only for those that you worked on and where it makes sense. (Tip: I often enjoy doing my Retrospective outside an online tool – eg. in a diary).
- What practices worked?
- What practices didn’t work? Should they be replaced or completely removed ?
- Is there any work that was planned and didn’t get done? If so, what is the reason?
- Did I meet my iteration goal?
- What is important to me now? What are my priorities? What are my most important goals?
- What stories do I want to do next? Should anything be added or removed from the Backlog right now?
- What could be done better in the next iteration?
- What is the one thing that I definitely want to see finished at the end of the next iteration? (this will become the next iteration goal)
Before starting my next iteration, I take care of that the Retrospective column is empty again (some items just get deleted, that is okay – the important thing is that they have been acknowledged and that for some of them corrective actions have been identified and prioritized). I like to archive my Retrospectives so that I can check on my progress anytime throughout the year (as I’ve mentioned a few times before, I’m driven by progress and this is yet another visual evidence of it).
- My long-time to dos (from months and even years ago) started disappearing – either got finally done or got removed as really no longer important.
- My Backlog does work as a place where I can visualize my ideas and keep track of them.
- With agile ways of working, my writers block started to melt away (yay!).
- I became active in areas I didn’t consider before because now I know that I can find time for anything I want to try.
- I became much calmer and more patient about my future plans, because I know that their time will come. Less stress.
- I realized that things I plan rarely get done the way I plan them but the most important one (iteration goal) always gets done.
- I found out that it is more feasible to handle my projects on weekly basis and my to-do list daily (previously I was trying to come also to my project boards daily).
- I learned to keep my daily to-do list up to 5 items long, otherwise to-dos rarely got done and it started to feel overwhelming.
- I try not to mix stories from various projects into one day now and focus on just one project during a day.
- I try to slow down more often and enjoy the process as much as or even more than the results.
Please understand all the information provided in this eight part series as inspiration, not as a set of rules.