It’s been eight years or so since I started using agile practices in my day-to-day job as a software engineer.

Over those years I realized more and more that doing regularly retrospectives was the one thing that had the greatest value of the roles, artifacts and meetings that come with those practices for me.

In the past I already used Kanban-boards to organize my personal life. I adopted it and at some point I let it go again because ToDo lists were good enough for me.

In my spare time I also play the guitar. Since August 2016, I play in a band called Afraid Of Carpets. At first we just played some covers to see if we could play together at all and if everyone fits in well. After the third rehearsal, we wanted to gather some honest feedback about how everything goes and if everyone is happy about the way we rehearse and what we wanted to play and everything else that you have to clarify in a band.

So now we frequently do retrospectives.

Besides me, no one has a background in software engineering or even project management but everyone loves to play that little games and give and get feedback.

Examples

Some of the plays we took where:

  • describe todays rehearsal in 2 words
  • imagine we would be playing [name a big festival here], what do we need to improve?
  • which song do you like most from our repertoire?
  • what would make the next rehearsal a failure?
  • what do you wish for your right neighbour?

Often it is not that easy to fit everyone in and listen to everyone’s opinion. Especially not if everyone likes the same style of music.

I have been in several other bands before and there was mostly too little focused communication mostly no feedback cycle. Everyone was playing his/her part and that was that. But it most often lead to problems and stress and sooner or later to the breakup of the band.

Instead the results of our retrospectives are awesome: we identified, we need to write more songs, improve sound check before rehearsing so everyone can hear himself/herself and we took some songs out of our repertoire because we couldn’t make any serious progress on them and instead opted for others instead which we had more fun rehearsing.