Let’s Meetup and Retro Notes

The notes from this Meetup are going to be like I do notes after a retro for any of the teams that I work with. A description of what we did and relevant info on the results.

Check In – One Word

Everyone was asked to write on a post it note how you would describe 2016 with one word – you may also use one song, book, or movie title, even if it is more than one word.

Result: Great words and we got to know a little more about each other 🙂

Focus On: Being Agile vs Doing Agile

We looked at and discussed the following images








Discussion questions:

  1. Is thinking about being agile vs doing agile new for anyone?
  2. Is anyone seeing any areas where things could stand to improve at your job?

RESULT: It wasn’t exactly new for anyone but after looking at the handouts they were thinking about it in a different way and saw that there was a major difference, AND that it was often the missing link between how things “should” be and how things “are”. Everyone saw areas where things could improve at work and within ourselves as well.

Set the goal/ context (1) The goal of this retrospective is to look at being agile vs doing agile, to identify and gather feedback from each of our places of employment, and to create action items to improve challenges as well as continue to maximize what is working that any team could also use.

Energizer: Agile Principles

  1. Ask the team about the twelve Agile principles. If they know it jump to the next point, if they don’t do a brief introduction to Agile values and principles.
  2. Ask all team members to stand up.
  3. Read loud and clear the twelve Agile principles. For each one of them, any team member that thinks the team is accomplishing the principle should remain standing up, but if they think they are not fulfilling the principle they should sit down
  4. Keep reading until everyone is sitting down.

RESULT: Everyone sat down within the first 6 principles , but I continued reading through all of them and then everyone shared if they would stay sitting or not on each one.


Gathering Information: DAKI Drop, Add, Keep, Improve

While thinking about the difference between BEING Agile and DOING Agile factor in how things are at your place of employment and/or these Agile Meetups. Then think about what things you would drop and what you would add. What you would keep and what you would improve on. Please write one thing only per post it note and when you are finished go ahead and bring them up and place them where they go.


  • Negativity
  • Apathy
  • Putting past experiences into present situations
  • Drop Bottlenecks
  • Thinking having a burndown equals being agile


  • Accountability
  • Willingness to change/ grow
  • Continuous Learning Engagement
  • More understanding of agile and practice being agile


  • Perseverance
  • Communicating
  • Keep Agile Process to learn Agile
  • Doing leads to Being
  • Quantity
  • Productivity


  • Open Mind
  • Retros – self-organization
  • Embrace change
  • Deliver Working Software
  • Working with Customers
  • Environment
  • Improve communication
  • Team Problem Solving of interested parties
  • Emotional IQ/ awareness of others on team/ realize you are part of a team and don’t always get your way
  • Looking for compromise

Analyze and Create Action Items:

Since we are all on separate teams this is not the same as it usually would be but I thought we could still take a few that have several people mentioning them or are the most common and we could come up with some Action Items that any one of us could take back to our jobs and implement.

Action Items – not in usual SMART format because of the nature of doing a retro for people working in different places etc.

  1. Accountability
    • Create exposure
    • Create a process for people on the team who have to deal with other commitments
    • Work with people who go off and do their own thing individually and help them to be part of the team
  2. Show the 12 principles of Agile and help teach the team with them
  • Show one a day and discuss or do a game with it to practice it
  • Show/ discuss one per retro and go a little more in depth, it will also take longer
  • Gamify the principles
  • Teach about the value of being Agile vs being Agile
  1. For negativity/ apathy etc,..
  • Deal one on one and find the root, what are they opposed to and address it with them
  • Don’t push, nudge OK depending on who?
  • Try to find a way to cater Agile to them so it serves their interests so they see how it benefits them
  • Go slow – don’t do everything at once
  1. Companies should adjust their thinking to attract the type of people and skill sets they want to be added to their teams and acknowledge that these awesome people could also go work at other places like Google, or Facebook.

 Close Out – ROI

Vertical line with smiley face at top and sad face at the bottom. Asked for a post it note to be placed where on the scale you think it should be when thinking about your ROI on the retro/ meeting and if you want to say why good or bad just leave a note on the post it not and I will use the feedback to improve retros and you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts to make them even better.


  • Great retro
  • Your ability to maintain control over conversation while listening to responses

PS I’m aware that there are two 2’s above – there is something squirrely with the formatting and it is more important to me to get this out than make it look perfect 🙂

Comfort zone series – Goals

One of the challenges with getting out of our comfort zones is the unknowns

  • What if it doesn’t work?
  • What if I can’t do it?
  • What do I do if I can’t sustain the change?

They can pile up and overwhelm some of us pretty quickly!

One of the first things I do with my teams to help them get comfortable (pun intended) with getting out of their comfort zones is to help them see the value of having goals.


In my experience people seem to fall into one of four camps when it comes to setting goals;

  1. Set big goals that come closer to requiring a miracle to achieve than not, and use the “long-shot” of it as motivation to keep working towards it.
  2. Set goals that they know are achievable, they may require some considerable effort but they can see the steps from a to z and with persistence, time, and hard work they know they can achieve it.
  3. Set goals that require barely any change or effort where the emphasis is building confidence because you can feel good about yourself for achieving it.
  4. Don’t set goals, some rarely make plans and live on a whim and how they feel at the moment.

I have yet to work with a team that doesn’t have a mix of these four types which makes the first challenge in helping the team get out of their comfort zone, agreeing on a kind of goal!

There are pros and cons in each of these goal setting camps.

  1. A pro of setting big goals is that it stretches you beyond what you knew you could do or go. A con is that for some people if it is too much of a long shot they will never really try for a myriad of reasons.
  2. A pro of setting goals that are achievable with work, time, and a plan is that it can motivate some people to push harder than they would without the goal. A con is that it doesn’t require much of a stretch and some need more motivation.
  3. A pro of setting goals that require barely any effort at all or something you are already doing anyway is that they can be great at boosting confidence. A con is that it can become extra work to log and track completing things that you would be doing any way.
  4. A pro of not setting goals at all is that if concentration, creativity, or something like that is helpful to accomplish the goal than “feeling” creative sure helps to do it. A potential con is that it is increasingly difficult to accomplish much in life with out any goals and only doing things when you “feel” like it. Some still seem perfectly happy about this, others, not so much.
  1. What camp do you fall in when it comes to goal setting? Do you go big? Go safe?
  2. Can you name your team members and what camp each of them fit in?

If not – have a discussion about goals and find out where everyone is, it will help later…


Other factors can also play a part in the challenge of setting goals, we’ll discuss those next time.


Using current events in retros – Olympic Retro

Even though the Olympics have wrapped up across the world, they produced some great quotes and pictures – this one inspired an entire retro and the creation of a new way to Gather Info!


Here is the Olympic themed retro

  1. Goal
    1. Look at the value of focus
    2. Identify and gather feedback
    3. Create action items
  2. Focus ON – awesome Olympic quotes on the power of Focus. We discussed them and I asked if people agreed or disagreed, if people thought it took focus to become an Olympic athlete, and what are the benefits of focus.9e208a258510cac84ca520cf222cb8c5largeEverything is vague
  3. Energizer – Olympic Team Charades – to get everyone in the competitive spirit we broke into two teams and played charades. The learning points were; listening, creativity, focus, teamwork, and competition, plus laughter of course 🙂
  4. Gathering Data – Olympic Retro
    1. Trophy = success, things that are working great – keep it up!
    2. Medal = things, people, processes that are working but need improvement.
    3. Stink eye (use the pic of Michael Phelps giving the stink eye) = things that are not working BUT improvement is possible
    4. Foot in boot kicking = things that need to be disqualified, stop doing them

Olympic Retro

5. Analyze and Create SMART Action Items

6. Close-Out – Story cube question? “If this sprint had been an Olympic competition it would have been…..

Summary: The team enjoyed the current event connection in the retro, the actual Gathering Info section worked well and I’ll definitely use it again. The addition of a game was also helpful to get everyone in the right frame of mind for the Gathering Info section.