Agile Retrospectives, Second Edition: A Practical Guide for Catalyzing Team Learning and Improvement

Joanne Perold, one of our Fellows in Better Change, was lucky enough to be a reviewer and get a sneak peek of this amazing book and she will share her thoughts with us here.
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The first version of Agile Retrospectives was my guide for running retrospectives for a decade. Imagine my excitement when Esther and Diana let me know that they were going to do a second edition and that they had been joined by the fabulous David Horowitz. I was lucky enough to be a reviewer and I’m so excited by the new edition. 

Esther and Diana kept all the good stuff of why retrospectives are so important and what the main aims of a retro are, and the description of each of the 5 phases and why they are so important. To my delight I noticed the wonderful list of activities that they had for each of the 5 phases also has been kept. So what has changed? 

There is now a wonderful section that is a step-by-step guide to designing a custom retrospective for your team. Also new is a new section on leading retrospectives, that not only goes deeper into the facilitator role but also digs into managing activities and time, as well as managing yourself. 

Esther and Diana have added a whole new section on managing group dynamics and what could go wrong with really pragmatic examples of what might happen and what you can do about it as a facilitator. They have added considerations for if your retro is remote or in person and things you need to think about when working with larger groups. One of my favourite parts is a whole section devoted to sharing specific retrospective plans for common scenarios, for example, Teams who are forming, or teams who have received poor feedback. 

Part 3 tackles things like remote and hybrid setups, dealing with issues beyond the teams’ control, catalysing and sustaining change, overcoming objections and continuing the learning. As someone who has been running retros for more than 15 years, I still loved this book and learned so many things. I can definitely recommend it and can tell you this book will be my new guide. You can pre-order it on Amazon. If you are impatient, adventurous, or both, you can find the beta version here.

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