I get the feeling that after 5 or 6 sprints, retrospectives tend to lose some of their power.
For instance, let’s look at the number of actions the team came up with during the course of a project.
Numbers fluctuate a lot during the first 5 sprints after which they tend to flatten out. When I think about it, this is in most cases aligned with my feeling about retrospectives of a project. In the first weeks and months, they tend to create a lot of valuable feedback, are highly energized with creative discussions. But this generally doesn’t last for the entire project duration.
You might say “Were done, the team has improved all there is to improve”, but I don’t believe that’s true. Not after 6 sprints! There must be lots of other areas in which we can do better. Maybe only the obvious improvements have been done.
I believe we enter a second cycle of continuous improvement. One in which it may not longer be appropriate to hold a retrospective after a sprint. Maybe we should work on our culture of continuous improvement, so we always keep an eye open for possible improvements. It requires an atmosphere that embraces change and supports continuous learning.
It feels like a logical next step to me. Starting the project with a fixed moment to reflect and adapt, until the team embraces the mindset of continuous improvement. Then switch to a looser process, where reflection is nurtured instead of forced.
Anyone got some experience with this?