Conclusion – Retrospectives Antipatterns


The conclusion is simple: Avoid my mistakes. Be aware of these traps in retrospectives, and be mindful they do not make you fall.

That being said, you probably need to make your own mistakes to learn. So perhaps the conclusion of this book is that you will find yourself in most of these antipattern solutions at some point in time, but at least you will know that you are not alone. Somewhere in Denmark, Aino is still feeling down about that particular time she introduced that particular antipattern herself. Perhaps it can help you to know that whatever situation you find yourself in while facilitating retrospectives, I have most likely been in the same. It was difficult for me to write this book because I had to remind myself of all the situations where something went wrong. It was a painful path to take, but I also learned from this overview.

Know also that I have always tried to learn from my mistakes and to improve my facilitation skills next time—even if only a little bit, just enough for me to feel better again.

So, go out and start, or continue, your facilitation journey. Make mistakes, celebrate them or feel bad about them, depending on your nature, but try to reflect on them and learn from them. Some things I have learned from failed retrospectives have been helpful not just within the realm of retrospectives but also outside. For instance, I learned that negativity aimed at me did not necessarily start with me; often, it came from somewhere else. And that people who are quiet often have something important to say if you allow them. I find myself trying to facilitate everything in my life, and I get away with it because facilitation is not about being in power or manipulating others—it is about helping everyone be heard and making sure that people feel as good as they can in every cooperative setting.

But sometimes I am just in an utterly bad mood, and I don’t care about other people. And sometimes that is OK.