There’s a certain type of quiet movie that I like a lot. It usually starts with a stranger entering a closed group, e.g. a village and the dynamics that enfold because of it. “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert“, “Fried Green Tomatoes” or “Kitchen Stories” are excellent examples. Did you ever stop to wonder, why the movies show that particular point in time, when the new element is introduced? Why not the 5 or 10 years before that?
Because such a movie would be bor-*yawn*-ing: A closed “system” tends to reach an equilibrium and stay there. Even things that make you think “WTF?” when starting a new job will become “the way things are done” a few weeks down the road. And once we’ve gotten used to stupid things, we stop seeing the madness and stop initiating improvements.
Introducing a new element can be immensely beneficial for the agile “inspect and adapt”. Here are some ideas to get a new perspective on the status quo:
- When someone is on holiday try to get a temporary replacement and pay attention to their observations
- At my workplace we substitute POs and SMs when they’re on vacation
- If you’re several SMs, why not switch and facilitate the retrospective of another team once in a while?
- Have an outsider observe standups and retro for a sprint
- Get new team members to speak their minds, before they lose their fresh perspective
If you can’t get someone new, you can still vary the location:
- Different room / building
- E.g. in a co-working space
- Eat out
- E.g. Chinese with retrospective cookies
And there’s probably a gazillion more possibilities … What do you do to rock the boat?