Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is an agile retrospective?

An agile retrospective is a meeting that's held at the end of an iteration in agile software development. During the retrospective, the team reflects on what happened in the iteration and identifies actions for improvement going forward. A regular agile retrospective is one of the most important of agile development practices.

The agile retrospective can be thought of as a lessons-learned meeting. The team reflects on how everything went and then decides what changes they want to make in the next iteration. The retrospective is team-driven, and team members should decide together how the meetings will be run and how decisions will be made about improvements.

Q. What is a post-mortem?

A post-mortem is a process performed at the conclusion of a project to determine and analyze elements of the project that were successful or unsuccessful. Sometimes also referred to as lessons-learned meetings, post-mortems are intended to inform process improvements which mitigate future risks and to promote best practices.

Q. More meetings? Really?

Everyone hates meetings, right? Actually, most of us hate bad meetings that waste our time and don't decide or accomplish anything. Awesomeness is the antidote to bad retrospectives that devolve into complaining and fail to produce action. By facilitating a structured discussion that gets at the real impediments to morale and productivity, the approach focuses the team on what they can do to increase their own awesomeness.

If you're doing retrospectives or similar meetings already, Awesomeness will make them better. It may even make them shorter as it will help the team focus on what to do about their situation. Adding Awesomeness to your schedule may also save time wasted in unproductive debate during other meetings or hallway conversations, because team members know there is a time and place for discussing how to improve and be more awesome.

Q. How much does Awesomeness cost?

$3 per user per month during the preview period. Prices will likely be higher once the preview period is over.

Remember, though, your first retrospective with Awesomeness, facilitated by Bruce or Tony, is completely free. The monthly charges only start if you decide to use Awesomeness from there.

Q. Is Awesomeness anonymous?

No names are collected or connected with Awesomeness data, so team members can feel safe that what they say will not be used against them outside the team. Also, Awesomeness leverages an anonymous information-gathering technique called "silent writing" to quickly gather information, including suggestions for improvements, in a way that prevents more talkative team members from dominating the discussion.

Most small teams, however, get to know each other pretty well. So when the real discussion starts, it usually becomes clear how each person feels. This gradual reveal promotes a healthy openness and directness among team members, while retaining anonymity outside the team.

Q. Our scrum master is pretty great. Do we still need you to facilitate our Awesomeness retrospective?

For now, yes. Since this is a new tool and technique, even experienced scrum masters can benefit from hands-on coaching with it.

Also, though Bruce and Tony have been leveraging Awesomeness for years across many organizations, we're actively refining the toolset to make teams as independent as possible. We use each retrospective we facilitate with Awesomeness as an opportunity to learn what improvements we can make. Once we're out of our preview period, Awesomeness will be available for teams to sign up for and use on their own. For now, though, you can learn from the experts and we can learn from you. Win-win!

Q. Our teams already write down what they learned in retrospectives. What does Awesomeness give us that our wiki won't?

First of all - congratulations! Your team is already using retrospectives to continuously improve themselves and your company.

We think the power in a retrospective comes from the team conversation. Awesomenes helps facilitate better conversations through anonymous feedback and a gradual reveal process. Early in our careers, we also started with writing down retrospective learnings in a wiki. However, we found it hard to keep track of those improvements in the following weeks. Awesomeness provides accountability to your team by reminding them of the lessons learned throughout the next sprint.