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Continuous Improvement Vs. Continuous Suckage

Published: August 24, 2017

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Continuous Improvement

  1. A facilitator helps the team run a good retrospective (and learn how to run their own retrospectives)
  2. Underscore spirit of blameless retro. Establish safety. Provide coaching prior to retro if needed. Team able to “get real”
  3. Accentuate the good. What’s working? What should we amplify?
  4. Review output of prior retro. Team bubbles up new internal and external issues impacting their performance (ideally supported with qualitative and quantitative data).
  5. Team also reflects on success of continuous improvement efforts
  6. Team prioritizes issues to fix and brainstorms possible interventions
  7. Team secures help for resolving external blockers (and establishes way to track these blockers)
  8. Team tries limited number of interventions
  9. Repeat…rapidly
  10. If certain issues persist, agree to escalate issues to a trusted leader for help and support

Continuous Suckage

  1. Manager facilitates retro without prior experience
  2. Team afraid to “rat out” co-workers and/or threaten their individual job prospects
  3. Punt on dealing with interpersonal issues. Doesn’t “get real”
  4. New processes created to fill trust void and “prove who is slacking”. Manager opts to deal with individuals directly, and not whole team. Manager dictates process
  5. Turns into blame session
  6. Team gets tired of bringing up chronic issues (especially external issues, that never get addressed) or brings them up and gets chastised for not being team players
  7. Lack of accountability for continuous improvement efforts. High “change in progress”
  8. External communication owned by manager, who attempts to preserve optics. Lack of coherence
  9. Repeat. Long delivery cycles masks actual progress
  10. If issues persist, manager and team develop alternate narratives to protect their self interests