I introduced and led the agile-based approach of reviewing performance called a Retrospective to the Delivery Services team here at ILANTUS. I’ve learned the process from a couple folks at Rally Software (quick shout to the team there as they recently went public: RALY on NYSE). Most notably, I appreciate Rachel Weston Rowell for her instruction over the years. There are four steps:
1. “What” – share information about performance
2. “Gut” – group sharing of gut reactions or feelings about the “what”
3. “So What” – discuss what all the information and the gut reactions mean
4. “Now What” – talk about what you want to do about it
For us, the particulars of the “What” were:
– Customer Satisfaction: based on surveys we sent out after each project was completed
– Billable Milestone Achievement: did we meet the billable milestones we set with customers. In other words, did we produce results such that we were paid according to schedule.
– Customer Referenceability: Did we create new referenceable customers to help with sales
– New Revenue from Existing Customers: how well did we generate sales from existing customers
– Customer Outages: did we cause any outages to customer systems, if so, how many
This data was all collected and put into a presentable format by me before the retrospective began. We then shared our gut reactions, which took a while since there were over 20 of us in the room. Next, we discussed what it all meant.
When we got to the “Now What”, we realized that some of the things that came up were already being worked on by committees on the team. We came up with the idea of putting all the “Now What” on a Kanban board. For those who are not familiar, a Kanban board is a wonderfully simple way to track work. You can look here for some info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanban_board.
Our Kanban board had four categories “Backlog – Not started”, “Planned”, “Working (or In Progress)”, and “Completed”. It was a great way for us to look at our action items from the retrospective, and see where we were in creating the change that we want, and what else we needed to do.