Lessons learned – Never Give Up

chuzzeteRetrospectivesLeave a Comment

Did you already experienced that an exercise, that you prepared to do during a sprint retrospective, is not going into the sense that you thought it would?

Were you able to deal with that feeling ? Is that sound coming from inside of your body, an expression of the frustration, sadness or everything together ?

Is people making weird faces or talking between each other or even losing interest on the message that you are trying to communicate ?

Well, if you answered yes to at least one of the questions above, I have news for you: You are a facilitator and a human being experiencing failure, but nothing more than that. With that being said, I mean that it’s not the end of the world and even though it hurts, this is part of our job as facilitators.

Little history

I planned to show to one team that I’m working with, the progress of an Scrum Assessment that I did when I started with them six months ago. My goal was to encourage them to keep doing like it because I found some amazing results.

How did I do it? 

– I printed the scrum assessment questionnaire, one per team member.

– Then I asked them to fulfill it during 10 minutes.

– After that, what I have in mind was to start a discussion within the team, about each category results on the scrum assessment (there were seven categories) that they fulfilled, by having a round table where each team member would share its concerns about the results of that category.

– Having that in mind and inviting the team to discuss their own results, then I would show them the results of what I get to demonstrate to them would awesome the team was doing, even though from my point of view.

– The activity was planned to be 1 hour and 30 minutes long.


– First of all, I lose control over the exercise by opening the door of comparing team members opinions. I failed to explain them what I was expecting from them by the end of the activity.

– Second of all, it was so long that at some point it was my opinion against them, so they lose credibility on what I was saying. I begin insecure and they felt it.

– Once We got to the show them the results of my observation, the team was so tired that I felt that the timing was gone.


– Prepare yourself to fail time to time in front of the team (people) and be vulnerable enough to end up the activity by saying the true when is not working.

– Keep going. You did prepare something for them, keep going until you feel that it doesn’t worthy.

– Be firm about what are you trying to teach and say.

– Always have a plan B to put it on the table if something goes wrong with the original plan.

– Be creative and innovative on the spot. When something wired happens, try something outside of the box, ask them if they want to drop the activity or take a break. Do what ever it takes to gain  them back.

– Try to learn from it. Even if you feel that it was a terrible mistake what you did, remember that the most important think is, did you learn from the experience ?

– Don’t be so hard with yourself. In fact that is what I’m trying to do, but I’m so exigent that to be honest, it’s really hard to do.

– Be positive to keep trying and give you and the team another chance. It could be just a bad day.

– Try again with other approach. Try just try, remember to never give up on it.

Well, this is my experience with failure, what about yours ????

Thank you for sharing your experiences and ideas.

See you soon in the next agile pill.

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