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38 Project Retrospectives in Agile Development

Tuesday, 28 October – 13:30-17:00 Afternoon

Linda Rising, independent consultant, risingl@acm.org
Mary Lynn Manns, University of North Carolina at Asheville, manns@unca.edu

The Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto state that, "At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly." How should that be done? This tutorial will present techniques for project retrospectives that allow teams to discover what they're doing well so that successful practices can be repeated and identify what should be done differently so that teams can improve. Retrospectives are not "finger pointing" sessions, but rather a highly effective series of activities in which teams can reflect on the past in order to become more effective in the future. Participants will be introduced to the retrospective process, learn techniques for leading retrospectives, hear the experiences of the tutorial leaders who have led retrospectives in various kinds of projects, and participate in a retrospective simulation.

Attendee background

Prerequisites: Participants should have been part of at least one development experience.


Introductory lecture and simulated retrospective


Linda Rising has a Ph.D. from Arizona State University in the area of object-based design metrics. Her background includes university teaching experience as well as work in industry in the areas of telecommunications, avionics, and strategic weapons systems. She has been working with object technologies since 1983. She is the editor of "A Patterns Handbook," "The Pattern Almanac 2000," and "Design Patterns in Communication Systems." She has experience leading retrospectives in a number of companies and academic settings around the world, as well as giving presentations on the benefits of retrospectives. She has over 20 years of academic teaching experience and over 15 years of industrial training experience.

Mary Lynn Manns has a Ph.D. from DeMontfort University in England in the area of software patterns. She is on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She has taught seminars on project retrospectives and has led numerous retrospectives in both industry and academia.