How a Railway Strike Improved Our Retrospective

“After the Sprint Review and prior to the next Sprint Planning meeting, the Scrum Team has a Sprint Retrospective meeting.” (scrum.org, The Scrum Guide, page 14).

This sounds completely sensible. So people all around the globe conduct these meetings in this order.

It does not have to be that way!

In our team we have 2-week iterations. So the standard meetings can be held all on the same day: Review in the morning followed by Retrospective and finally closed by Planning in the afternoon. We did that for a few iterations. Our last meeting day was hit by a railway strike. One team member could not come. She is working off-site and definitely wanted to attend the retrospective. She said conducting the review and planning without her is ok. We left out the retrospective and moved it by a week.

The effect was marvelous! We experienced a very focused retrospective. Observations:

  • People were less tired
  • No distraction by the product; people did not get distracted by features or bugs
  • Review and planning were completely focused on the product
  • If required, meeting schedules can easily be extended ad hoc

I think we will do this more often. Having two days of meetings of course has the drawback that off-site team members need to travel twice. Nonetheless, for us it worked great and the results outweighed this annoyance by far!

3 thoughts on “How a Railway Strike Improved Our Retrospective

  1. We just split up our Review/retrospective/planning a few weeks ago into review/retrospective and planning on the next day. That way, the sprint really closes after the retrospective and the new sprint starts with a fresh planning. I’m seeing good effects coming from that.

    • This is a very common pattern. It works well. In fact it works so well that I never doubted it. The advantage of having the planning directly follow the review is that you can profit directly from the ideas that were arising during the review. This is especially true if you have new stories continuing on the results of the previous sprint or if the PO wants additional finetuning on the finished stories.

  2. Pingback: The Shu-Ha-Ri model of Lean Procrastination | Lean Procrastination

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