The Agile Tribe

Running a Successful Large Scale Retrospective

on November 19, 2010

Author: Jonathan Coleman

The first thing I can say about running a large scale retrospective is:
It takes PREPARATION!
I’ve been sweating on this for a while. In our particular project we have about 70 people involved on a day to day basis. Previous retrospectives have involved the whole team at once resulting in retrospectives dragging on, and most people leaving on a low note.

So as part of my role as Iteration Manager, I have to be willing to accept feedback and seek help!

As a result of the realisation that I generally suck at facilitating large crowds! I attended the Agile Academy’s recent Facilitation Course presented by James King in Brisbane.

This was an extremely valuable day for me! I learned some great tips and tricks, and the Q & A session was focussed on the large crowd retro issue. The essential thing I learned was that Preparation would be key to ensuring a successful outcome which we could learn from and avert disaster and a waste of time.

So in the preparation phase, I

  1. Set up 7 Stations around the room with butcher’s paper – stickies and whiteboards;
  2. Mined the last 15 retrospectives for recurring themes and challenges;
  3. Prepared a video for viewing on large screens;
  4. Booked the meeting room and sent the invite out so the right people would be ‘at the table’.
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