In the following weeks, I will describe the basic principles that guide all Project Retrospectives. Most Scrum-Teams never perform Project Retrospectives, but they do Sprint-Retrospectives. The original name for Sprint-Retrospectives: “Heartbeat”-Retrospectives was chosen by the Retrospective-Facilitator Community 2004 in Vienna. I still like the name Heartbeat-Retrospectives better, because it describes very nicely what it is: An inspection of the teams work process.
The heartbeat retrospective is like a medical examination. A doctor exams the child without any judgment. She does not say the kid is good or bad, she does not say the health of the kid did something wrong or right. What she checks is the current status. She checks if the health of the child is within specific parameters. In a hospital the nurse will check the temperature, the heartbeat rate, and many more signs of a child every day. They do this not, because they want to control the children, but for monitoring purposes. A heartbeat retrospective is similar to this.
The team checks every Iteration the health of the project, the team and the environment:
- Is everything as it should be?
- Can we improve the health of the team, the process or the environment?
- Do we detect a life critical blockage?
- Is there an infection that causes us to work harder than necessary?
- Do we need help? Shall we call the doctor?
In this series I will talk every week about another topic that is important for retrospectives:
- Storytelling as the first principle of retrospectives
- What is learning?
- Why do professionals learn so badly?
- The six step framework of retrospectives.
Heartbeat Retrospectives purpose is monitoring the health of the Scrum-Team. — Boris Gloger