Retrospectives Antipatterns, 1st edition

Published by Addison-Wesley Professional (November 6, 2020) © 2021

  • Aino Vonge Corry

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Using the familiar “patterns” approach, Retrospectives Antipatterns introduces antipatterns related to team and meeting structure, inadequate or counterproductive planning, human interaction, and much more. From “blaming and naming” to too much smalltalk, negativity to cultural disconnects in distributed teams, Corry reveals traps she’s encountered in leading hundreds of retrospectives -- and presents proven solutions. With her insights and guidance, you can run retrospectives that deliver actionable improvements and concrete value – not just once, but over and over again.
  • Packed with accessible, entertaining patterns illuminating experiences most team leaders, meeting facilitators, and participants have encountered – with real solutions
  • Shows how to go beyond doing retrospectives “in name only,” to build actionable plans and gain ever-increasing value
  • Endorsed by world-renowned retrospectives expert Diana Larsen: “A goldmine with precious nuggets including personal experiences, effective facilitation resources, and pointers for extracting yourself and your team when you’re stuck...”
Foreword xv
Preface xvii
Acknowledgments xxxv
About the Author xxxvii


The Story Begins 1

Part I: Structural Antipatterns 2

Chapter 1: Wheel of Fortune 4

Context 6
General Context 7
Antipattern Solution 7
Consequences 7
Symptoms 8
Refactored Solution 9
Online Aspect 12
Personal Anecdote 13

Chapter 2: Prime Directive Ignorance 16
Context 18
General Context 20
Antipattern Solution 21
Consequences 21
Symptoms 22
Refactored Solution 22
Online Aspect 23
Personal Anecdote 23

Chapter 3: In the Soup 26
Context 28
General Context 28
Antipattern Solution 29
Consequences 29
Symptoms 30
Refactored Solution 30
Online Aspect 34
Personal Anecdote 34

Chapter 4: Overtime 36
Context 38
General Context 39
Antipattern Solution 39
Consequences 39
Symptoms 40
Refactored Solution 40
Online Aspect 43
Personal Anecdote 43

Chapter 5: Small Talk 46
Context 48
General Context 48
Antipattern Solution 48
Consequences 49
Symptoms 49
Refactored Solution 49
Online Aspect 51
Personal Anecdote 51

Chapter 6: Unfruitful Democracy 54
Context 56
General Context 56
Antipattern Solution 57
Consequences 57
Symptoms 58
Refactored Solution 58
Online Aspect 60
Personal Anecdote 61

Chapter 7: Nothing to Talk About 62
Context 64
General Context 64
Antipattern Solution 64
Consequences 65
Symptoms 65
Refactored Solution 65
Online Aspect 70
Personal Anecdote 71

Chapter 8: Political Vote 74
Context 76
General Context 77
Antipattern Solution 77
Consequences 78
Symptoms 78
Refactored Solution 78
Online Aspect 79
Personal Anecdote 79

Part II: Planning Antipatterns 80

Chapter 9: Team, Really? 82

Context 84
General Context 85
Antipattern Solution 85
Consequences 85
Symptoms 86
Refactored Solution 86
Online Aspect 87
Personal Anecdote 88

Chapter 10: Do It Yourself 90
Context 92
General Context 92
Antipattern Solution 92
Consequences 93
Symptoms 93
Refactored Solution 94
Online Aspect 96
Personal Anecdote 96

Chapter 11: Death by Postponement 98
Context 100
General Context 100
Antipattern Solution 100
Consequences 101
Symptoms 101
Refactored Solution 102
Online Aspect 103
Personal Anecdote 104

Chapter 12: Get It Over With 106
Context 108
General Context 108
Antipattern Solution 108
Consequences 109
Symptoms 109
Refactored Solution 109
Online Aspect 110
Personal Anecdote 111

Chapter 13: Disregard for Preparation 114
Context 116
General Context 117
Antipattern Solution 118
Consequences 118
Symptoms 119
Refactored Solution 120
Online Aspect 122
Personal Anecdote 123

Chapter 14: Suffocating 124
Context 126
General Context 127
Antipattern Solution 127
Consequences 127
Symptoms 127
Refactored Solution 128
Online Aspect 128
Personal Anecdote 129

Chapter 15: Curious Manager 130
Context 132
General Context 132
Antipattern Solution 133
Consequences 133
Symptoms 133
Refactored Solution 133
Online Aspect 134
Personal Anecdote 134

Chapter 16: Peek-A-Boo 136
Context 138
General Context 138
Antipattern Solution 139
Consequences 139
Symptoms 140
Refactored Solution 140
Online Aspect 143
Personal Anecdote 143

Part III: People Antipatterns 146

Chapter 17: Disillusioned Facilitator 148

Context 150
General Context 151
Antipattern Solution 151
Consequences 151
Symptoms 151
Refactored Solution 152
Online Aspect 153
Personal Anecdote 153

Chapter 18: Loudmouth 156
Context 158
General Context 158
Antipattern Solution 158
Consequences 159
Symptoms 160
Refactored Solution 160
Online Aspect 162
Personal Anecdote 162

Chapter 19: Silent One 166
Context 168
General Context 168
Antipattern Solution 169
Consequences 169
Symptoms 169
Refactored Solution 170
Online Aspect 171
Personal Anecdote 172

Chapter 20: Negative One 174
Context 176
General Context 176
Antipattern Solution 176
Consequences 177
Symptoms 177
Refactored Solution 177
Online Aspect 179
Personal Anecdote 180

Chapter 21: Negative Team 182
Context 184
General Context 184
Antipattern Solution 184
Consequences 185
Symptoms 185
Refactored Solution 186
Online Aspect 187
Personal Anecdote 187

Chapter 22: Lack of Trust 188
Context 190
General Context 191
Antipattern Solution 191
Consequences 191
Symptoms 191
Refactored Solution 192
Online Aspect 197
Personal Anecdote 197

Chapter 23: Different Cultures 202
Context 204
General Context 204
Antipattern Solution 204
Consequences 205
Symptoms 205
Refactored Solution 205
Online Aspect 207
Personal Anecdote 207

Chapter 24: Dead Silence 210
Context 212
General Context 212
Antipattern Solution 213
Consequences 213
Symptoms 214
Refactored Solution 214
Online Aspect 216
Personal Anecdote 216

Conclusion 219

References 221
Index 225
Aino Vonge Corry, independent consultant, has facilitated retrospectives for over a decade, written about facilitation for almost as long, and spoken widely and taught courses worldwide on the subject. She holds a PhD in computer science with a focus on design patterns in object-oriented design and OO language constructs: “pattern-glasses” that have been invaluable in formulating experience for others to learn from. She has taught for over two decades, in both university and industry settings.

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