Six months is a long time to wait for a retrospective. It is possibly the most important part of any Agile process or methodology. It’s right in the Manifesto: Responding to Change. In fact, the 12 Principles stop just short of calling it a retrospective, “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” To be fair, this retrospective is different. This one is not for the company where I work, it is for this blog.
According to the stats on this site I have published 25 articles, making this 26. I post weekly. (Tuesdays preferably.) Since the beginning they have gone out on Twitter via my personal profile and a profile I created just for the blog. There is also a Facebook page for the blog that gets the announcements. Finally people can sign up to get an email for each post.
I have an RSS feed on which I publish the entire article every week. This is because I don’t like it when I have to leave my RSS reader to get the rest of an article from another blog. Last but not least I have LinkedIn integration such that posts go to my profile.
LinkedIn and Pmi.Org are fighting for top referer. Search engine traffic ranks far below either of these. Analytics tell me that searches are starting to include my content. Likely this is a result of me continuing to write relevant information and take part in various communities. There have also been a couple of re-posts of an article or two to other places. While I have mirrored a post to PMI, the ones I am mentioning here were specifically done by someone else.
So, what does it all mean? A retrospective is useless if you do not do anything with it. They are meant to inspect what has happened. This information can then be used verify that goals are being met. If they are not adjustments can be made to better meet them going forward.
In this case goals are being met. I intended first to have an outlet for my thoughts on Agile. This includes both processing what I learn while undergoing an Agile journey at work and what I learn through reading & discussions outside of work. Most of my learning to this point is happening elsewhere in the web. The fact other are finding my content and seeing value shows that I am on the right track here.
One goal that has not been met, and I didn’t expect to see it met this year, is a larger community. I want to have multiple authors writing content for this blog. It is hard to find an Agile blog that is not either a corporate blog associated with a consulting firm, or a personal blog of an independent contractor. What I mean is, most Agile blogs seem to be secondary to selling products or services. (Perhaps not directly selling, but as a subsection of the website doing the selling.) I want this blog to become a place where people from different companies can all post relevant content and partake in valuable discussions. Sure, the authors can each have their own page where their specific business affiliation is advertised, but that will not be the focus. The focus will be he blog first and providing contact for products and services second.
Another goal is almost contrary to the one I just put. I do hope to establish a larger presence in the Agile community. I’m not looking for income from this blog, but perhaps income from doing training or writing books. I really feel as if Agile largely supports many views I’ve had on the best way to accomplish work for a long time. As such I feel that I have a lot to give back to the greater Agile community just as I’ve learned a lot of details from it.
Going forward I plan to try getting some other authors to do guest posting here. Perhaps they can write some stuff here that doesn’t belong on their corporate/consulting blogs. Perhaps I can find people who have one or two (more?) things they really want to share, but aren’t interested in having their own blog. Also, to help kick-start this, I plan to try doing some guest posting on others blogs as well.
There will be another retrospective where I examine not only what happened, but what I have planned. (It will likely be in another 6 months.) Part of being Agile is knowing that what we originally thought may be wrong. Perhaps I will discover that I really feel one specific methodology embodies Agile above all others and I will shift focus there. Perhaps I’ll go through a career shift two years from now and pass this blog off to a new owner. Time will tell.
Now I need to hear from you. Retrospectives need input from the whole team. As a reader what would you like to see? Do have something to share with the Agile community?