Retrospectives: The Fish Bone

Can a fish bone help make a good team great?  That depends on what kind of fish bone we are talking about…

Blazing Cloud recently purchased the book Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great.  I skimmed through the book’s activities last week in preparation for leading a retrospective.  I picked the Fish Bone activity because it sounded light hearted and fun.  The activity is intended to help a team “Look past symptoms to identify root causes related to an issue…and find reasons behind problems and breakdowns”.  We brainstormed for a few minutes and decided on a topic to discuss:  Restarting Projects. We separated the potential issues surrounding restarting a project into three categories which we wrote down on each of the “bones”. Then we brainstormed things we could change or improve in each category. We ended up with a fish bone chart like this:

I’d say the fish bone exercise helped us dig deeply into one important issue for Blazing Cloud. Some members of the team didn’t like this exercise as much as other retrospective activities, mainly because they felt like there wasn’t enough of a positive ending or feeling of catharsis. For me the most important role played by weekly retrospectives is building team moral and creating an atmosphere of good communication and openness. Any time we get the team together and communicate openly, I think it is helpful.

One Comment

  1. Posted June 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Nice fishbone picture, Liah! What I like most about retrospectives is that it creates a shared sense of what we need to improve.

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