Marco Abis had a great post on retrospectives back in May. In case you haven’t seen it, I’ll quote part of the post here:
First of all why do I value retrospectives? Many different reasons but mainly because they let’s you:
Reflecting is something that we all do and Piaget found that this is one of the advanced skills adolescents develop as they approach adulthood. In fact I like to think that when professionals/teams/organisations move towards their adulthood they start to develop, value and apply a reflective approach to improve and grow. Or, to put it in another way, if they don’t do it they still haven’t turn the tipping point of maturity.
Learn from experience
Reflecting on experience provides the basis for forming more abstract ideas which can then be applied and tested in further experience. It enables us recognise new opportunities and learn from them.
Bridge the gap between theory and practice
As everyone has experienced in his life studying something doesn’t necessarily means being able to apply it. We need to know how to apply the knowledge to real problems. Reflecting help us to identify how best to apply in practice what we know in theory.
Cope with ambiguity and change
Reflecting is essential in recognising the uncertainty we face in the modern world where the demand for fast and reliable results often increases stress and workload. This is particularly true in an Agile environment in which we tend to work closely with our customers and often have to cope with new and unique problems never met before.
Develop a critical awareness
We usually reflect both on our own behaviour, the behaviour of others and on the social/organisational context. This leads us to develop self-awareness and to become aware of things we need to change. Reflecting is then a key point for improvement and is far from being an innocuous process because it challenges the status quo, the way things are done.
You can read Marco’s complete post on Retrospectives IN and ON Action here.