Doing multicultural Retrospectives?

An Agile retrospective is a meeting that’s held at the end of an iteration in Agile software
development (ASD). During the retrospective, the team reflects on what happened in the iteration
and identifies actions for improvement going forward.

I used to do multicultural retrospectives because I  worked with a remote team located in San Francisco
(California, USA) and another team located in Chile and it was a big challenge to do a Retrospective with
different cultures.

Based on the three classical questions:

• What worked well for us?

• What did not work well for us?

• What actions can we take to improve our process going forward?

The retrospective is team-driven, and team members should decide together how the meetings will be
run and how decisions will be made about improvements. After few sprints, I want to check about how
the team was sharing Agile values because of that, I was looking for a different way to do the
retrospective when I found someone who had the same issue as me.

Exercise: Sharing Values

Step I: Identify a pair (optional) Ask your team members to identify someone within the team that
they are comfortable with. Ensure all pairs have been identified and if there are odd numbers of
people, the facilitator can pair with the lone individual. Ensure that everyone has some index cards
and a sharpie.

Step II: I don’t like it … On a single index card, ask each team member to complete this statement:
“I don’t like it when someone/people …… “ Encourage each team member to write down 2-5 such statements
on separate index cards. I have found that it is easier for us to identify behaviors that we don’t like, especially when we have been at the receiving end.

Step III: Exchange Cards After everyone is done writing, exchange all your cards with your partner.
Variation: If you have opted not to do Step I, then place all these cards in the basket/hat. Now
randomly pick cards from the Basket/Hat. If you get a card that is yours, then place it back into the
bucket/hat. Ensure all cards have been distributed.

Step IV: I like it … On the back of each index card, write down a statement that will counter yours
partners “I don’t like it …” statement with “I like it when someone/people….” You will be amazed
how your team member’s insight into your hot-button issue helps you recognize behavior that you will
truly appreciate!

Step V: Share Values Go around the table where each team member reads aloud a statement that begins
with “I like it when …”. Take turns reading one statement per team member at a time until all statements
are exhausted. These are your team’s value statements. These statements provide a simple list of positive behaviors that are currently valued in your team. Step VI: Team Values Chart On a Big Visible Chart only
capture statements, that begin with “I like it when …”. Radiate this information in your team area for
the benefit of your team members and others who interact with your team. I tried it and I have got an
excellent feedback from my remote teams.

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Mario Lucero

Mario Lucero

I am all about helping companies to adopt agile as methodology in Chile.


I believe many organizations think that agile is not for Chilean companies because of Chilean culture is totally
different from i.e. USA culture but I worked with Chilean professionals who after using agile realized it is feasible
to implement it.

Agile works in small and large projects and there are many evidences which demonstrate this.

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