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Did Walter Shewhart Invent Project Retrospectives?
The Project Retrospective has come of age. We have books, articles, seminars and many teams adapting the technique for their project. So what are the roots of this approach which, at its core, is about tapping into the wisdom of team members to drive continuous, incremental improvement? A few key innovators of the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's recognized the need for driving product quality. Perhaps unknowingly, we've applied their theories in our project post mortems, project lessons learned meetings, and project retrospectives. The project retrospective is this decade's implementation of continuous improvement.
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A Great Way for a Team to Come Together and Plot the Future
Through the experiences of a project, the team gains experience, wisdom and perspectives that they may not have possesssed at project initiation. The retrospective is an important mechanism for harvesting this newly gained wisdom and seeking to apply it to future endeavors. This article builds the case that retrospectives are vitally important in the life of a project team.
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Tips for Enabling Continuous Improvement by Project Teams
Retrospectives are straightforward in purpose and simple to describe, yet most project organizations are unable to achieve even trivial benefits from this immensely important activity. Thought leaders on retrospectives have published a rich set of materials to help project organizations adopt retrospectives - their insights are readily available to help you. You'll also find a few important tips that can establish the foundation in your organization for consistently obtaining the best results from your investment in retrospective activities.
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A Straightforward Outline of Activities and Approaches for a Successful Retrospective
While the concept of a project retrospective is easy to grasp, it is all too easy to fail when trying to implement the concept. Esther Derby and Diana Larsen have literally written the book on retrospectives - here is their five-step approach with some specific tips to get your project teams effectively conducting project retrospectives.