Agile, Agile Metrics, Business Agility, Retrospective

Retrospective using the 4L theme combined with Tuckman’s Model

In the previous article we learned how to use the 4L technique for a retrospective and how effective it proved to encourage the team to talk and discuss points that in a normal day wouldn’t be possible. It is one of the effective ways to resolve conflicts in a group.

In this article we will learn more on how we included Tuckman’s model in the 4L Retrospective technique.

Purpose

Being true to the Spotify model wherein the focus is on autonomy we saw value in merging 4L (Liked, Loved, Lacked, Longed) + Tuckman (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing). This helped in identifying where we need to focus on keeping in mind the organizational goal towards Growth. We will call it Tavision. Tuckman’s model helped us to identify the correct state we were in and identify ways to improve on those and move to the next level.

There are other models too that could give similar results like the Cynafin framework which is more aided towards decision making. However, we choose the Tuckman model because you also need to know the maturity of your teams in adapting to new ideas and ways of doing things. Cynafin at this point was for an advanced stage of doing our retrospectives.

The Agenda (10 Minutes)

Before starting with the retrospective, the IM took 10 minutes to explain the agenda.

For that IM used the Five levels of conflict:

  1. Intra-Person– Personal challenges – this has to be solved at a personal level, not with the squad.
  2. Inter-Person – Conflicts between two or more individuals in the squad. This has to be sorted between the individuals or with their manager.
  3. Intra-Squad – Challenges within squad w.r.t to the sprint work and achieving the sprint goal.
  4. Inter-Squad – Challenges with other squads in achieving the sprint goal.
  5. Intra-Organization – Challenges at the organization level that needs to be addressed by the leadership.

The agenda was set – the squad was to discuss only on the conflict level 3 and 4.

The Execution

(Total 1 hour, can extend to 2 hours depending on the size of your team and experience with retrospectives)

Explain the Tuckman Model (5 minutes)

Once the agenda was set all squad members were explained the Tuckman model.

Tuckman’s model is significant because it recognizes the fact that groups do not start off fully-formed and functioning. He suggests that these phases are all necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, plan work, and deliver results.

  1. Forming – Made aware of things. Learning.
  2. Storming – Chaos. Need maximum focus.
  3. Norming – Started working on the solution but still need more focus.
  4. Performing – Doing it as expected.

The List

Once the squad understood what was expected from the retrospective. They were asked to come up with points that they thought was in the Inter-Squad and Intra-Squad level of conflict. This was a group activity wherein IM wrote all points from the team on the white board.(15 minutes)

Next Steps

  • Each member was asked to place the items on the board into the four quadrants.

Note: There will be instances that many items on the list will be repeated in different quadrants. And, that’s what will initiate the discussion.

  • Once all the items from the list were added to the quadrants we formed four groups and asked each group to pick up all items from one quadrant and further distribute those into the four quadrants as per the groups understanding.

Note: Do this for two rounds or till the group comes up with the top items for each quadrant. Let the squads decide the top items that they want in each quadrant. Further, if needed you can initiate the dot voting to identify the top 3,4 or 5 action items in each quadrant.

In this case the items in the Storming phase will be the top most action item.

  • Once the squads identify the top action items everybody in the squad would know the correct state of their squad. And, then identify ways to improve on those items.
  • As mentioned earlier the execution was based on the 4Ls Technique, you will need: Post-it notes, flip chart paper, white board, pens etc.

THEN IT WAS TIME FOR APPRECIATION WITHIN THE SQUAD AND CELEBRATE THE PAST SPRINT, WITH PIZZA… 🙂

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