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Gamifying Retrospectives for Distributed Teams Dana Pylayeva

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Gamifying Retrospectives for Distributed TeamsDana PylayevaAgile and BeyondApril 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIGood morning everyone. Glad to see so many people interested in the distributed retrospectives! Welcome.



Agile Coach,Scrum Master, CSM, CSP, DBA Manager,Systems Architect,Java DeveloperA Little Bit About MeApril 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIMy name is Dana Pylayeva. I am a Scrum Master and Agile Coach in Rakuten Marketing.Ive spent last 11 years of my career working primarily with distributed teams. In different roles and different organizations I came to count on and appreciate the diverse skill set and personalities of my distributed team members.

Just to get a sense about your background:Who works primarily in a distributed environment?Who has worked in at least one distributed team in the past?Who has been lucky to work only in co-located teams?All right, looks like just the perfect audience for this workshop!2

Whats In This Workshop?April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIIn a typical distributed retrospective a lot of emphasis is on simulating in room experienceGiven that today we are all co-located, this workshop will be a reverse simulation.We will take a quick look at a few retrospective frameworks , play a simulation game and try a few game-like retrospective activitiesSounds good? Then lets get started

3Welcome To Your New Distributed Organization.

Set up April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MI of you are now part of global organization with offices in different cities around the world.On your tables you will find the handout. We will work on the first page. Tear-out the last page and write a name of the city that your office is in. Select the VP of Technology. He needs to perform the first 3 steps.Take 3 min.


Distributed Team Challenges

Fear of ConflictAbsence of TrustLack of CommitmentAvoidance of accountability.Inattention to ResultsTheFive Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick LencioniLack of face to face communicationDifferent culture, different time zonesApril 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIAs many of you already know, life in a distributed team is not perfect For a lot of distributed teams the physical distance, time zones and the cultural differences obscure teams vision and ability to collaborate.Esther Derby said yesterday in her keynote Lots of conflicts on the teams are due to a lack of clarity, not due to the personality.

And so the team ends up looking like this:Take five dysfunctions of a team, add lack of face to face communication, time zones and cultural differences and you get the idea!o how can we help these individuals to become a real high performing team?What tool can we use to help them improve?


12At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjust its behavior accordingly. Retrospectives 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIThe answer seem to be pretty obvious it is right there in the 12th Agile principle Retrospective is that magic tool that helps the team to improve.In my opinion, Retrospective is the most valuable activity for the team.

However there are quite a few teams that dont share this view.What about your team?How many of you use retrospectives consistently?Occasionally?Never?Have you been in a situation where your team didnt see any value in retrospective or was convinced that a retrospective is a waste of time?6

Why Do You Skip Retrospectives?Boring IneffectiveWaste of my time!April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIWhy do people skip retrospectives?Three commonly names reasons: its boring, ineffective, and can be perceived as timewaster.However, these are just symptoms . Symptoms of a team in a retrospective anti-pattern:going through the motions, using same routine over and overNot closing a retrospective with a specific action.Not following through during the next iteration. The last one can happen for various reasons: No one took ownership.Or there were simply too many actions identified.If you find yourself in this situation, time to go back to basics!

7Time To Go Back to Basics!

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIThese two books will lay the foundation for you.You will discover the true meaning of a retrospective, find a great collection of exercise to try with your team and learn about a powerful framework for running effective retrospective.


Effort and sacrifice (during the Sprint) are the tuition that you paid. Now the question is, What did you learn? Learningis what this retrospective is all about.Norman L. KerthRetrospective Is About LearningApril 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIHere is an interesting quote:If retrospective is about learning, then facilitating effective retrospective is all about creating a safe environment that amplifies learningSupporting the team in the discoveryHelping them narrow the choices down to the next experiment that they can execute on in order to improve.In all these steps you can very effectively use Agile games and the game-like activities.

Speaking of establishing a safe environment9Retrospective Quiz. Who Is Invited?

Scrum TeamScrum MasterProduct OwnerDevelopment ManagerBusiness StakeholdersCTOFace Painting ArtistAll of the aboveNone of the aboveKeep the Managers Out!April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MI Who do you think need to be in the retrospective. OK we can eliminate the face painting artist. What about the rest?Any guesses?

One of the recommendations from SGBER Open Space attendees was Keep the Managers OutRetrospective is meant for the team members and inviting a manager can break the psychological safety.When the brain is activated by fear, it has less neural processing power for learning and exploration.10Framework for effective retrospectivesBased on Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great Esther Derby, Diana LarsenApril 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIOne of the most commonly applied frameworks today is the one described by Ester Derby and Diana Larsen. How many of you are familiar with this framework? Ok, then for you it will be a quick refresher.

5 distinct phased that prepare the team for effective brainstorming and solutioning and allow them to converge on the realistic actions to execute during the next iteration.11Retrospective FrameworkGoal: Establish a safe container, ensure participation, get everyones voice heard in the first 5 min.Activities: 1. Check in: your feelings in 1 word.2. ESVP check in3. Review working agreements.

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIStep one: setting the stage many activities to help a team open up and follow on last retrospective.12

Prime DirectiveRegardless of what we discover, we must understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job he or she could, given what was known at the time, his or her skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.Norman L. Kerth13April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MISetting the stage is also a good time to bring up the Prime Directive and remind the teams 13

Not A Witch Hunt!April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MI14Your Turn!

Retrospective focus: My First Day at Agile and Beyond 2015April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIAs the teams 15Distributed Retrospective

Real-time collaboration in GroupZap On-site team members accessing GroupZap from their laptopsRemote team members: turn you cameras on!Video camera April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIRetrospective with a distributed team is different from a co-located one because it has an added need of simulating same room experience.It can be as sophisticated as specially equipped TelePresence room and as low-key as setting up a second monitor in the team room.Good new is that most of the retrospective formats and activities can be adjusted for distributed teams as well.Lets take a look at a few of them.

16Retrospective Framework2.Gather DataGoal: Build a shared context. Without it people are working from a narrow set of data their own.Activities: 1. Build a timeline with data 2. Feelings (Emotion seismograph or labels with emotions) 3. Mad/Sad/Glad

Major Events During the Last Spring

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIA co-located team would start using lots of post-its at this time.For distributed teams we need to bring digital collaboration tools. GoogleDoc, GroupZap, LinoIt, Padlet, just to name a few.17Timeline In GroupZap

2.Gather DataApril 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIHere is how a timeline looks in GroupZap.18Timeline With Story Cubes

Rory's Story Cubesin real life and on your phone (iOS or Android)

2.Gather DataApril 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIMy new favorite tool is the Rorys Story Cubes. It is perfect for the teams with shy team members.Distributed teams can benefit from it to either by sharing pictures of the story they built with other locations or by using an app for simulating the dice rolling expereince19Building a Story Of The Last Sprint, One Cube At a Time.

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIUsing a metaphor to discuss the events from the last sprint bring together the team members with different cultural background20Retrospective In a New York Minute

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIAnd when we dont have much time, we use what we call NY minute retrospective:Modified happiness histogram, where everyone writes just one post-it to summarize their expereince and put the note at the appropriate point on the 1 5 scale.21

yondDistributed Retrospective Simulation. Make sureyourseatbelt is securely fastened!

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIYour Turn!

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIIn your handouts, you will see 3 different activities for Gather Data Stage. Pick one of them and gather data about our fist day a the conference.23Simulating Distributed Environment


April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIWe started with setting the stage separately in each team.Now the teams will gather data using one of the three frameworks from the handoutsIn the meantime, VPs of technology will have to follow me on Twitter and install LinoIt app on their devices.I will create a public canvas in LinoIt and tweet a link.VPs will take a photo of the output generated by each team and add it to our shared canvas on their devices.We will then collectively review the data from each team, generate insights, actions and close the retrospective.24Retrospective Framework3.Generate InsightsGoal: Figure out what all this information meansActivities: 1. Many options:- Learning Matrix- 4L, 3H..- Actions Centered2. Route Cause Analysis- Fishbone diagram- 5 Whys

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MI4Ls loved, learned, lacked, Longed for3H helped, hindered, hypothesis, 25Actions Centered With Google Docs

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIRetrospective Framework4.DecideWhat To Do

Goal: Focus the team on the items that can be addressed in the immediate future.Activities: Dot VotingSMART goalsCircles and Soup

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MI27Retrospective Framework5.CloseGoal: Access effectiveness of retrospective. Seek feedback on the retrospective itself.Activities: +/- /Delta3HROTI (return on time invested)Appreciation

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIAn Alternative Six Thinking Hats29

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIFocused parallel thinking29 Framing The Hats:

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MII like combining the two frameworks30

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MI

Photo credits

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MI32Get

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MI33GoogleDoc (check out a template by Ilio Krumins-Beens & Terrence McGovern GroupZap



Tools for Distributed Retrospectives:

Rorys Story Cubes:

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MIThank You For Playing Along!

@[email protected]

Join me, NYC Scrum User Group and our awesome speakersJune 1, 2015 at

Special discount to all Agile and Beyond attendees:15% off with AAB15 discount code

April 30 May 1, 2015, Dearborn, MI