Are retrospectives a method of making teams more effective – or are they just a waste of time?

According to a survey conducted at Microsoft “too many meetings” is considered to be the second biggest problem in agile methodologies (particularly with Scrum) as they are seen to be inefficient, time consuming and often poorly run. And yet, retrospectives are widely propagated as an appropriate means to increase team productivity, effectivity and efficiency – if “done right”, a tool to get teams back to using common sense when organising themselves.

I am currently working on research for my master thesis in Computing and Information Technology (MSc) at the University of Northumbria and in this research I want to find out what the current practice of retrospectives is. Do companies do retrospectives? How often? To what avail? (i.e. do they actually change anything?) I want to identify and explore the factors that have an impact on the effectiveness of retrospectives (positively and negatively) and find out what people think is the essence to getting most value out of retrospectives.

Help me find out!

I want to hear from both sides:

  • the enthusiastic members of the agile community, that keep agile alive and kicking and changing for the good – as well as
  • those critical of the agile hype, seeing the problems and the inconsistencies.
  • And those in between ;-)

I want to gather as much data as possible - in order to find out to what extent the "common sense" tips and ideas that can be found in the numerous books, blogs, talks etc actually fit reality. I really, really would appreciate as much feedback and input as I can possibly get! So please take a look at the different forms of participating - and see if you would like to participate in one or more of the possible research methods.

Thank you

I am excited to have the opportunity to gather and glean as much practice and insight on a subject I believe is relevant to our every day working lives. I will obviously publish my research results either here - or I will reference the publication here. But I have also tried to design the different research methods so that not only do I get valuable information from them - but you do as well.

Thank you all for your support!