The podcast Work Smart is all about how to be more efficient and effective on the job. Rebel CEO Rob Villeneuve was featured on the SpeakUp-helmed podcast hosted by Ray Gillenwater, where he talked about how we use Agile methodology here at Rebel.
But how do you actually do this? How do you put these ideas into practice? What methodology is best to create the most efficient and effective workplace?
“One of the tools that’s changed my career, once I learned how to do this and how to teach others how to do this, is the process of using Agile retrospectives,” Rob says. “Ultimately, the objective of a retrospective is to empower a team to drive their own change.”
Agile retrospectives are free, simple and easy activities that provide a structure for individuals or teams to seek out feedback, gain insights, and set objectives in a very iterative and incremental way. They help teams to reveal, explore and solve hidden challenges – improving their effectiveness and making people more happy.
Still with us? Let’s break it down a little more.
The first step in an agile retrospective is to gather feedback. This feedback can come from the team, from customers, and from colleagues. The more information gathered, the better.
Once the information is gathered, a process should be used to generate some insights about the feedback. Take a deep dive on some of the issues that are brought up. Why are these things happening? Allow the team to spend time exploring possible reasons.
After the reasons are determined, the team must decide what to do about them. What are the next steps? This is the perfect time to create some “smart” goals.
Smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
“A dumb goal might be to double the amount of code the development team is writing, but a smart goal might be to reduce the onboarding process for a customer by 30% in terms of how much time it takes to discover the product and then sign them up for it by a certain date,” explains Ray.
Once the team determines their goals, the retrospective comes to a close. Everyone has a clear idea of what is to be achieved in an allotted period of time; everyone is accountable for their own responsibilities.
“If the team themselves identify the problems, and the team themselves explore those problems, and the team themselves came up with the objectives to solve those problems, and they make sure they’re within their own space and assigned to themselves… well now the team has the obligation to hold themselves accountable to actually implement the things they said they would do to improve their world," says Rob.
When the team regroups for their next retrospective, it’s important to follow up on the previous one. Ask questions like, “What did we say we were going to do last time?”, “What problems were we addressing?”, “Did we do those things?”, and “Did they have the impact we expected them to?”.
Although agile retrospectives are frequently used amongst engineers and developers, these tactics and ideologies can be used by teams in practically any field – at Rebel our entire company works in agile! Agile is a tool to help teams solve universal problems. It enables the whole team to be responsible for their own work and helps to achieve a better result.