The Retrospective Prime Directive

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Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.

and in German:

Egal was wir heute herausfinden, wir wissen und glauben ernsthaft, dass jeder sein bestes gegeben hat entsprechend seines Wissens, seiner Fähigkeiten, der zur Verfügung stehenden Mittel, und der aktuellen Situation.

I’ve been a fan and user of Norman Kerth’s retrospective prime directive for many years. Every now and then I will start retrospectives with a reading and short discussion about the prime directive. It serves as a reminder of the state of mind that we need to achieve to get the best value out of retrospectives. The very act of reading and discussing it helps us to get to this state.

I often follow this by a short discussion on working agreements. Again Norman Kerth has some excellent advice as a starting point:

  • We will try not to interrupt.
  • We will accept everyone’s opinion without judgment.
  • We will talk from our own perspective, and not speak for anyone else.
  • If someone is holding the “talking coffee mug,” then only that person may speak.
  • There will be no jokes about other people in the room.
  • These ground rules can be amended after any break.

 

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