How to Run Effective Standups and Retrospectives


Step three of The Kanban Roadmap: How to Get Started in 5 Steps

As a systems-thinking methodology, Kanban calls for team members to take collective responsibility for team priorities. Rich conversations about the work are a must-have. They help the team discover bottlenecks, resolve issues, focus on flow, and continuously improve their process. To facilitate these discussions, teams often adopt standups and retrospectives.

  • Standups receive their name because teams meet while standing, rather than sitting, when gathered around their Kanban board. Standing encourages brevity and staying on task.
  • Retrospectives are held on a regular basis, whether weekly, bimonthly, or monthly. They give the team a focused opportunity to evaluate the health of the system, make adjustments, and devise experiments.

When implemented effectively, standups and retrospectives are powerful tools for teams that seek transparency and open collaboration. Without targeted discussion, however, standups can morph into what’s-on-my-schedule recitations, and retrospectives can turn into personnel critiques. The next two activities will help keep your team focused on the work and the process, while laying the groundwork for a team culture of continuous improvement.

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