Agile Ottawa Retrospective Followup Notes

Notes from Agile Ottawa Retrospective – these notes mostly come from memory. Under normally circumstances you wouldn’t publish notes from a retrospective however the group in attendance granted their permission.

The original plan for the Retrospective, included some activities that we decided not to run, when you’re facilitating a roomful of facilitators sometimes it just makes sense to go with the flow.

Checkin – “In a word or two what are your hopes for this Retrospective”

Two trends appeared How to improve our process over the coming year

  • Want to learn more about conducting retrospectives both in general and for a user group


  • For the venues that were provided (Adobe, You I Labs, Momentous and Bank St?)
  • For the food that has frequently appeared
  • There were several more but I didn’t take notes here.

Retrospective Timeline (see:

See attached pictures for some of the data we managed to generate. If we had more prep time as you would working with a team over a release you could generate **much** richer data (i.e. commit patterns, commit comments, build failures, …). Along with facts, we also spent time noting our emotions our the events.

Report out with Synthesis (small group work to find issues, with Report back to the whole)

To speed things along Glenn suggested we got to Dot Voting (6 votes a person). There was general consensus, so we gathered actionable items from the timeline into: Happy, Neutral and Unhappy columns. Sadly I didn’t think to take a picture of the lists.

We also skipped Circle of questions and went directly to discussion/SMART Goals. In theory we timeboxed each item to 10 minutes. In practice a roomful of facilitators needs practice timeboxing.

All notes in this section are heavily paraphrased please


Item #1 with 7 votes: Late/No Planning -> Late announcements -> Need to Improve Organization.


It was noted that our organization seems sporadic, i.e. we’re well organized for one event and for others we’re not at all organized. In particular there was no early May event and the Retrospective was organized very last minute.

SMART Goals:

– Use Pairs to Plan meetings – each meeting would have one pair who’re responsible for finding the venue, food, making announcements (Meetup, LinkedIn, Mailing Lists and Blog). But not for finding the topic/speaker.

– Have a Rolling Window of Events ~3 mths out so that we can better always be sure to have. There were two suggestions for make this list available either via Trello or Uservoice. This is something we need to have more discussion around. It was even suggested (by Jim L.) that we try maintaining a backlog a year out.

Item #2 Not enough Organizers – 6 votes


The problem might be not enough active organizers, especially by year end when we all seem to burn out at the same time. It was asked if “Use Pairs to Plan meetings” might alleviate this problem. In addition Glenn told us how that Agile New England spend time (15-30 minutes) every meeting to discussing organizational mechanics and administration. Glenn’s thesis is that increases the engagement of attendees.


We didn’t create a SMART Goal. Although I would like to propose one:

Contact the organizers of Agile New England and find out what they do.

Item #3 Too Man Events per month 2x month feels like alot – 5 votes


We discussed the history and different approaches of the two original groups. Since the majority of the people present were from the old “Downtown” crowd and only “Kanata/Scrum” person we agreed to skip the item.

Item #4 We like the different Agenda styles: speaker, group discussion etc.


Glenn mentioned Agile New England has an Agile 101 portion of every event. Again we didn’t create a SMART goal but I would like to propose:

Contact the organizers of Agile New England and find out what they do.

Item #5 Need to handle money $$$$


It was pointed out that we may need to handle money in the not distant future, i.e. money left from Agile Coach Camp etc. That would likely require we register as a not for profit.

The challenge is now is following through on these Goals

One response to “Agile Ottawa Retrospective Followup Notes

  1. “In practice a roomful of facilitators needs practice timeboxing.”
    How could you write this down without a smiley? :-}

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