Monday, April 16, 2012

Retrospectives: What was that about hats, again?

Did you watch Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life? There is a great scene that takes place in the Very Big Corporation of America, excerpted here:
CHAIRMAN:...Item six on the agenda: the meaning of life. Now, uh, Harry, you've had some thoughts on this.
HARRY: That's right. Yeah, I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and, uh, what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: people are not wearing enough hats. Two: matter is energy. In the universe, there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this soul does not exist ab initio, as orthodox Christianity teaches. It has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved, owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.
BERT:What was that about hats, again?

The Pythons struck a fairly deep chord in me with this humorous indictment of human (and particularly American) shallowness.

Agile methods are anchored in empirical Inspect and Adapt methods (most famously the PDCA cycle).

Without action anchored in observation and reflection, nothing really improves and the scrum rituals and practices become meaningless. However, when teams become responsible for their results and begin measuring and experimenting there is no limit to what they can do.

Has your team started its process of guided self-observation? You might find some hints here on how to make your retrospective more effective.