Online Scrums Blog
manage dispersed teams - increase visibility - better business decisions
When you're working in an agile scrum team the focus is so much on "team", "sprint" and "outcomes" that individuals often fail to recognise the importance of personal reflection to drive continuous improvement. For those unfamiliar with the term "continuous improvement", it is an ideal state for organisations, teams and individuals; where there is a process that encourages and rewards its stakeholders to reflect, challenge and improve themselves in a structured and positive way. This is the underlining principle of the sprint retrospective, even if it's not always stated as such.
It's important to recognise that reflection is a critical part of personal and professional development. Within the study of leadership, reflection forms a key part of the "action-observation-reflect model", also referred to as the AOR model. Below you can visualise the concept using the figure here;
Reviewing this model, you can see that our experience grows naturally as we execute actions, observe the results and impacts and then reflect on the outcomes. It is within this context we are best able to answer the questions asked during our sprint and projects retrospectives;
The same principle holds true for personal development, investing time to act-observe-reflect will make the most of the experiences you have that can not only be applied to yourself but your team. This is the crux of how personal reflection can contribute significantly to personal and team development and therefore performance improvements.
Still not convinced? Consider these outcomes from reflection;
Within the context of Agile Scrum, it's easy to lose sight of the individual, and for individuals to lack responsibility for their own personal reflection. This behaviour should be encouraged and allowed for in your planning sessions. Further, give your teams the tools to capture these reflections quickly and easily to promote better discussion and communications.
This is one of the great features of Online Scrums in that feedback can be captured at any time throughout the sprint, but also in a method that encourages sharing and open discussion.
Personally, after an important meeting or discussion that impacts on the sprint I will take time for a coffee at my local coffee shop. Often this is done alone with my phone open to Online Scrums and reflect, noting anything that is considered a win, a potential area of improvement, or an actionable change for the next sprint.
How do you reflect personally and within your team? Share your experiences with us!