Linda Rising on Retrospectives in AMOS Praktikum

On June 16, 2010, Linda Rising visited the Agile Methods and Open Source (AMOS) Praktikum at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. Linda is an agile method experts of world renown, and she taught a lecture on project retrospectives. She also led an actual retrospective exercise for the AMOS Project. The AMOS project is the OSR Group’s staple programming course. This semester, it is developing the DosIS open source software project, a medical information system for pediatricians.

Linda Rising lecturing

Linda hard at work

Full house!

Student asking a question

Our tweet stream provides some review of Linda’s insightful lecture:

  • Successful retrospective don’t name and blame – helps focus on problem; if you name then praise #AMOS
  • Norm Kerth’s Prime Directive of Retrospectives: Assume that everyone did the best they could #AMOS
  • Retrospectives help learn from experiences; bring out experience, help find closure #AMOS
  • People believe we learn from experience; but then she has that friend who got married 5 times #AMOS
  • Software development misses experiments; projects operate on faith way too much #AMOS
  • On an agile project, each iteration should involve a few small experiments #AMOS
  • Last but important question to ask in a #retrospective: What still puzzles us? #AMOS

The last tweet was:

  • Linda Rising at #FAU now leading a #retrospective in Agile Methods and Open Source class project #AMOS

It was the last tweet, because now the real experience began and we had all hands full! Linda led us through the following retrospectives best practices:

  • Create safety
  • Define success
  • Offer appreciations
  • Build time-line
  • Show artifacts
  • Define experiments
  • Summarize learnings
  • Hopes and wishes
Brown-bag lunch setup

Some project artifacts

Everyone is learning, even Herr Professor

Students hard at work

Capturing learnings: puzzles (here)

Maybe the most important exercise was creating a time-line. Here is how it looked like:

Blackboard prepared for time-line exercise

Attentive students

Linda explaining how time-line works

Students building the time-line

Student reading the time-line

Linda helping explaining the time-line

The final time-line

Linda is a great speaker and facilitator who works magic. This guest lecture and exercise of the AMOS Praktikum was certainly a highlight of the course. The AMOS team, instructors and students, would like to say thank you very much!