Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Retrospective activity (filtering) : Most Likes and Dislikes

cross posted on

This is a follow-up on the Plus Minus Voting activity. It creates a visual tool for the marked items according to its total score (from the lowest to the highest).

Running the activity
1. Create an axis as per the figure below (<- -="" minus="" plus="" zero="">).
2. Ask the participants to place the marked post-its (from the Plus Minus activity) on the axis as per their total score (e.g., 4 + and 1 – have a score of 3).
3. Discuss with the group about the items.
Note that the items with + and – on it represent items in which the participants have different opinions.
I find this activity specially useful for cleaning up the canvas. The post-it with most votes are picked up and moved to a new place. By doing this, the participants are naturally filtering out the notes. Some colleagues have added an extra dimension (an Y axis) for counting the total number of votes (picture below).
Copy of most-likes-and-dislikes-Yaxis

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Leading vs. Lagging Indicators OR Futurospective vs. Retrospective Activities

Cross posted on

Floyd Marinescu on his Culture and Happiness in Virtual team presentation at the QConSP 2014 conference brought a very interesting point to my attention.

Make sure to track and meet weekly to talk about your team leading and lagging indicators.

Leading indicators are metrics about the future and upcoming events. Lagging indicators are metrics collected based on the past events and happenings.

I watched his talk a little after I had given my latest talk about retrospectives. Naturally I related his points to my retrospective world.

Traditional retrospectives activities are looking at the past. Typically, these are more interested on the lagging indicators. On the other hand, futurospectives activities are for preparing for the upcoming future. Therefore these are more interested on leading indicators.

Floyd had another precious advice: To focus on the leading indicators, trying to keep these green (visual representation of the good status). Good status for leading indicators will usually support good results which are/will be shown in the lagging indicators.

I also had the same experience as a project leader and a retrospective facilitator. By running futurospectives (responding to leading indicators) you might end up with better results which will appear on your retrospectives (lagging indicators).

My advice: Teams should consider alternating retrospective and futurospective activities. And make sure to keep doing it on a weekly basis.