5 Minute DevOps: Stop Doing Retrospectives!

5 Minute DevOps: Stop Doing Retrospectives!
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What’s a retrospective? According to Scrum.org,

“The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Scrum Team to inspect itself and create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next Sprint.”

So, once every 2 weeks, we sit in a meeting and try to recall the things we’d like to improve. Everyone contributes ideas on what went well and what could be done better. They usually remember what happened during the last 2–3 days. It’s ineffective because the feedback loop is too long and the list of things to improve becomes a huge backlog with long lead times. This then causes a lack of trust that things can be improved.

Alternative ceremony: Make Things Suck Less

In the MTSL ceremony, we do simple things every day to make the work suck less. Improve the logging in a function. Refactor a test to make it more declarative. Have casual conversations with a teammate. Script something small to reduce toil. All of these incrementally make the work suck less and reduce friction for delivery. For large problems, we talk to each other and discuss something that really sucked today that we should improve, put a plan together, and then collaborate to make it suck less.

The daily application of the MTSL ceremony gives faster feedback, helps focus on the highest priority suck, and allows everyone to see constant progress towards lowering the average level of unhappiness.