Last night, I was fortunate enough to attend a session with Dave Thomas, one of the original creators of the Agile Manifesto, er, "Manifesto for Agile Software Development Principles."
Four years ago, when I first became part of an agile team, we had very deliberate scrum retrospectives every sprint. We were new to agile and scrum, so we had a lot (A LOT) to work on, and a lot of new-found autonomy to stretch. Years later, when the original teams became autonomous to the point where they could facilitate their own retros, it was a breakthrough in autonomy.
There are a lot of things good about team-led retrospectives. The teams were used to hashing things out and coming up with action items, so they didn't need anyone to prompt them. Team members know right where the weak spots are, and don't have to use crafty measures to get there - they walk right in and go for the elephant in the room. Since many of the teams rotate the responsibility, they each participated heavily in retros facilitated by other, since they want others to participate heavily when it's their turn.
There are also several watch-outs for team-led retrospectives. While teams know about the elephants in the room, they are often too close to see the little elephants lurking in the corners. In addition, development led retros usually end up focusing on development and technical issues and only touch the surface of team and relationship related issues.
When you add in factors like time crunches, reluctance of teams to "play games," and just a plain boredom with retrospectives in general, I saw a need for a compact, flexible, effective way for teams to pick up a retro idea and run with it....get the action items on the table, then move on.
Rapid Retros is just that kind of kit. Stay tuned for further developments!
I'm an Agile Coach and Scrum Master in St. Louis, MO. I also do improv theater and stand-up comedy around town.