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Scrum: When the team says that they don’t want to do a retrospective (contd..)

I wrote a post that talked about teams which felt that they did not want to go through the retrospective (teams opting out of doing the retrospective), and the conclusion in the post was that if the team felt it was right to do so, then the Scrum Master should not interfere in the decision, but let it go through and the team to evolved their own strategy. However, after the post, I got some feedback about how would a Scrum Master figure out that the team needed to start having those retrospective sessions, and re-start them, and this was a tricky question. There is no perfect answer for this question though, since one of the past feedback I have received from many contributors and fellow Scrum Masters is that they give a wide latitude to the wishes of the team. However, another feedback was that the Scrum Master is not just somebody sitting by idle, he should be asking hard questions that make the team think and try to figure out answers for these questions.
Some of these questions that the scrum master can ask teams if they decide to abandon retrospectives is:
– Is the team constantly improving, and is that their intention ? If so, if they do not have retrospectives, how will they figure out that what are the good points that they need to build upon.
– Is the team having a way to measure their velocity from Sprint to Sprint, and figure out whether their velocity is increasing, or decreasing, and if they are interested in that information and to discuss changes.
– Does the team feel that they have reached that level of maturity where they can actually figure out whether they do not need retrospectives. This can be an interesting discussion, since many teams that have a certain amount of experience feel that they are mature, and then one or two of the team members points out some cases which disproves the point, and that actually ends up increasing the maturity level of the team.
– The Scrum Master also needs to take a review of some recent issues which he feels that the team could have answered better, and bring it up in the team, trying to point out that if the team is mature, it needs to figure out the solutions for the problem and also use this as an opportunity to figure out whether the team has a process to discuss this issue if they are not doing retrospectives.
In addition, the Scrum Master and the team managers, without directly negating the decision not to have retrospectives, should continue to have discussions with team members about this decision, and look to understand more about what the Scrum team thinks. It might be that a couple of team members actually came up with the idea and the others just signed onto this idea without doing a more detailed discussion within the team (one might expect the Scrum Master to know this kind of information, but there is a very good chance that the Scrum master does not have this kind of information and is not 100% clued into how the team operates).

Read more about this in the next post (Scrum team does not want to do a retrospective)

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