"Agile Retrospectives" Book Writeup

December 01, 2011

Agile Retrospectives Book Cover Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great Esther Derby, Diana Larsen ISBN: 0977616649

What’s the point?
Like the title suggests, this book drills down into retrospective meetings conducted by agile software teams. Retrospective meetings are really important, but are often either overlooked or poorly facilitated.

How was it?
Awesome. This book made me want to try leading the next retrospective meeting for my team.

An important focus of the book is on how to design a retrospective. There is more to it than just getting the team in a room and complaining for an hour.

I really liked the list of activities and exercises, especially because the book clearly explained WHY to do each activity and what you, as a facilitator, should be trying to gain from them. It’s one thing to say “have everyone write Explorer, Shopper, Vacationer, or Prisoner on a card” - but the book explains that you can use this to set understand people’s attitude toward the meeting and adjust your tone/agenda accordingly.

For someone like myself who has never lead a retrospective, this book is a great resource. There are step-by-step actions to take, with lots of examples and even guidelines for how to time-box each section.

Who should read it?
All team leads, those looking to become team leads, anyone leading retrospectives - if you haven’t read this book, I think you are really missing out.

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