Experience vs Data: A Case for More Data-informed Retrospective Activities

01/05/2021
by   Christoph Matthies, et al.
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Effective Retrospective meetings are vital for ensuring productive development processes because they provide the means for Agile software development teams to discuss and decide on future improvements of their collaboration. Retrospective agendas often include activities that encourage sharing ideas and motivate participants to discuss possible improvements. The outcomes of these activities steer the future directions of team dynamics and influence team happiness. However, few empirical evaluations of Retrospective activities are currently available. Additionally, most activities rely on team members experiences and neglect to take existing project data into account. With this paper we want to make a case for data-driven decision-making principles, which have largely been adopted in other business areas. Towards this goal we review existing retrospective activities and highlight activities that already use project data as well as activities that could be augmented to take advantage of additional, more subjective data sources. We conclude that data-driven decision-making principles, are advantageous, and yet underused, in modern Agile software development. Making use of project data in retrospective activities would strengthen this principle and is a viable approach as such data can support the teams in making decisions on process improvement.

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