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Game-based Sprint retrospectives: multiple action research

Abstract

In today’s fast-paced world of rapid technological change, software development teams need to constantly revise their work practices. Not surprisingly, regular reflection on how to become more effective is perceived as one of the most important principles of Agile Software Development. Nevertheless, running an effective and enjoyable retrospective meeting is still a challenge in real environments. As reported by several studies, the Sprint Retrospective is an agile practice most likely to be implemented improperly or sacrificed when teams perform under pressure to deliver. To facilitate the implementation of the practice, some agile coaches have proposed to set up retrospective meetings in the form of retrospective games. However, there has been little research-based evidence to support the positive effects of retrospective games. Our aim is to investigate whether the adoption of retrospective games can improve retrospective meetings in general and lead to positive societal outcomes. In this paper, we report on an Action Research project in which we implemented six retrospective games in six Scrum teams that had experienced common retrospective problems. The received feedback indicates that the approach helped the teams to mitigate many of the “accidental difficulties” pertaining to the Sprint Retrospective, such as lack of structure, dullness, too many complaints, or unequal participation and made the meetings more productive to some degree. Moreover, depending on their individual preferences, different participants perceived different games as having a positive impact on their communication, motivation-and-involvement, and/or creativity, even though there were others, less numerous, who had an opposite view. The advantages and disadvantages of each game as well as eight lessons learned are presented in the paper.

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DOI:
Digital Object Identifier (open in new tab) 10.1007/s10664-021-10043-z
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Creative Commons: CC-BY open in new tab

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Details

Category:
Articles
Type:
artykuły w czasopismach
Published in:
EMPIRICAL SOFTWARE ENGINEERING no. 27,
ISSN: 1382-3256
Language:
English
Publication year:
2022
Bibliographic description:
Przybyłek A., Albecka M., Springer O., Kowalski W.: Game-based Sprint retrospectives: multiple action research// EMPIRICAL SOFTWARE ENGINEERING -Vol. 27,iss. 1 (2021),
DOI:
Digital Object Identifier (open in new tab) 10.1007/s10664-021-10043-z
Verified by:
Gdańsk University of Technology

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