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Retrospective Testing

Synonyms: 
UX retrospectives

Retrospective testing is a meeting on a regular basis where the team can discuss the recent working process and define the ways of improving this process. Based on the results of retrospective testing, the team can create an action plan for the future work.

This kind of testing is normally practiced within an Agile or Scrum process and takes a format of a facilitated meeting at the very end of the sprint. All members of the team should be included in the meeting to have an opportunity to discuss all the issues. It is proven that a permanent process upgrade can increase quality and productivity.

Kinds of

Product or UX Team Retrospectives

The most obvious group to conduct a retrospective in is a product or UX team. It is always an opportunity to evaluate the goals and the approach. Efficiency of such testing experience is growing proportionally to the time that members spend with each other and the trust achieved between them. Sometimes people are not comfortable enough to bring up any problematic issues. In this case you should estimate the roles of participants: nobody should have a total control over the discussion and everyone should feel free to come up with any suggestions. 

Leadership Teams

This is where the retrospective is an opportunity to discuss if the team worked successfully, and can help with some feedback on implementing a new company initiative or strategy. Testing within a leadership team can be conducted on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis.

Meta Retrospective

Sometimes (i.e. once a year) it can be interesting to conduct a retrospective of all the retrospectives. This could show if your retrospective process is working right and you’ve made some improvements based on the resolutions from your testing sessions.

4 Steps of Retrospective Testing

  1. Expectations setting. Create a meeting in the calendar with an actualized agenda. You may include the goal of the sprint so all the participants would have an understanding of the main topic to talk through.
  2. Discuss what went well. Try to answer the questions: “What did you like?”, “What did you learn?”, “What tools were helpful?”.
  3. Discuss what needs to be improved. Some questions can be effective here as well: “What was lacking?”, “What should we do differently?”, “What isn’t clear?”, “Where did things go wrong?”, “What is stopping us from moving forward?”.
  4. Create an action plan. This is the most important step, otherwise all the meetings become unproductive. Assign each action plan point to a certain team member, and upload the action plan to the place everyone has access to.

3 Rules for Retrospective Testing

  1. Do not blame anyone.
  2. Focus on improvement.
  3. Be open minded.

Recommendations

  • Try to share the facilitator role — it should keep all the participants engaged;
  • Encourage entire team to discuss — to consider all the possible opinions;
  • Set your meetings on a regular basis — to compare the results;
  • Track the action plan patterns and review them at the end of the project to check if the team made some improvements.

Efficient retrospective can make your sprint process better by providing stronger communication and trust among the team members.

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