Timeline retrospective

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Our last iteration was charged with frustration. This gave me an opportunity to try out a timeline retrospective activity that looked at events and emotions, instead of our usual iteration retrospective format. Our burn-up chart was used as the actual timeline which enhanced the data and experience greatly. We placed each story card on it at a location corresponding to the day it landed in the done column on our planning board.

Timeline on burn-up chart

Timeline on burn-up chart

We stuck color-coded post-it notes to the timeline representing key events, and added color-coded dots to reflect the emotions of individuals during those events.

Color-coded timeline events

Color-coded events

Color-coded timeline emotions

Color-coded emotions

The completed timeline looked like this:

Completed timeline

This rich data allowed everyone in the team to get a much better understanding of the experiences everyone was having – and give each one an insight into why the frustration existed during the iteration.

Simon Baker
Simon Baker
Simon Baker is chief swashbuckler at Energized Work, a guerrilla technology lab based onboard HMS President in London. Simon cofounded Energized Work and in 2009 received the Agile Alliance Gordon Pask Award. He speaks internationally about applying agile and lean principles and techniques in business, software development, and information technology. With 22 years experience delivering software in the media, retail, healthcare, financial services and banking sectors, Simon is a leader doing things differently to find out what matters and get the right things done in the right way. He isn't afraid to question conventional thinking and disrupt the status quo. Simon feels strongly that work shouldn't feel like work and he has a track record creating exciting working conditions that help people change the way they deliver software for the better.

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