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3 - Build action plan

Part 3 of integrative retrospective - Build plans against insights and agree action plan
MW
Written by Martin West
Updated 5 months ago

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Context of integrative retrospective

In the article, “Use integrative retrospectives for continuous improvement” we identified that, if we are targeting continuous improvement, the game needs to change.

The parts of an integrative retrospective are:

  1. Agree on targets
  2. Develop insights
  3. Build an action plan
  4. Align through agreement

Part 3 — Build an action plan

Before we can implement learnings, we need to develop and agree action plans.

As a team, you are asked to create plans to implement what you’ve learnt. These are defined in terms of actions you want to take and the constraints you want to resolve.

This article covers part 3 — Build an action plan. This leverages the insights captured in the process of part 2 — developing insights. It can be included in the same meeting or organized separately. The action plan is aiming to benefit from the experience with the team problems. Capturing what is known about the problem, unknowns, and gaps in understanding can be highly effective in creating a great foundation for further work (whoever takes it on).

Card 3.1 Build a team plan for priority actions

Description

The topics will be carried forward to the planning records. The questions per topics are:

  • Learning — Build Clarity of problem, challenge or opportunity
  • Is this an action or constraint?
  • Approach
  • List of milestones, with leads (who), and approximate target schedule
  • Risks and dependencies
  • Is this for the next sprint or for the backlog?

These questions can be edited, added to or deleted. The team can agree which stakeholders need to be part of creating this definition.

If there is a constraint to be addressed, then the plan can be an input to an agreement.

Logistics

The team can gather to build out these plans. However it may make sense for a subgroup to do this work for one or more topics and engage non-team members. Currently the facilitator or lead will document the plan. We are currently working on giving edit rights to the person who originally added the topic or answered.

All team members can review the data as it is provided.

Card 3.2 Team agreement to focus on these learnings

Description

This team will send a card to review the data captured as part of the plan. They will be asked to confirm their agreement or disagreement and add a comment.

Participants may view the plan (the data) as a table or as a series of records.

The question & answers per record are:

  • Learning — Build Clarity of problem, challenge or opportunity
  • Is this an action or constraint?
  • Approach
  • List of milestones, with leads (who), and approximate target schedule
  • Risks and dependencies
  • Is this for the next sprint or for the backlog?

These questions could have been edited, added to or deleted in the prior card and this card.

Logistics

The participants are asked to take time to reflect on what this plan means to them? Use words in the comment to qualify your perspective on the plan.

It is good for the team when they make comments, whether they support or don’t support the agreement. If they’re not comfortable stating their thoughts to the team in the meeting, this is an opportunity to anonymously make comments. Everyone benefits from understanding the challenges they face. Only by working through these challenges, the team can be more effective. While it is important to try to have these conversations in person in the meeting, this is not always possible. The aim is to be open. Have discussions. Be brave and courageous.

Once all people have given their agreement or disagreement, and optionally left a comment, then the card is closed.

Call to action

Facilitation is a critical skill used by leaders to build alignment. At Neutral Advocate, we offer a facilitation platform — Janars. Sign up for a free 32-day trial at community.janars.com.

We offer an integrative retrospective that helps you drive continuous improvement. We’ve identified a 3 step plan:

  1. Start: Select an effective team and use stage 2 — develop insights and stage 3 — build action plans
  2. With success: Add stage 1 — agree targets to make stage 2 target driven. And add stage 4 — align with an agreement to remove constraints from stage 3 — action plans.
  3. Expand with Stages 1,2 & 3 to more agile teams. And engage connected teams to build agreements. Teams like product owners, customers, executives.
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