Sep 8th, 2021


Part 2: Celebrate Your Wins

  Written by: Jesse LaDousa, Chief Operating Officer

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Last week I wrote about the importance of sprint retrospectives. Great teams take time at the end of every sprint to reflect on what went well, what struggles they had and, most importantly, what specific thing are they going to focus on the following sprint to drive continuous improvement.

These activities, albeit critical to the success of a team and their project, are tactical in nature. They tend to be very specific to that past sprint’s activities and focus on individual tasks or actions that are accomplished in that two-week period. Again, this is necessary for successful teams to do. However, teams can easily fall into a pattern of fast passed, tactical focus that leads to the overall objectives and goals of the project becoming hazy at best.

When we go heads down into sprint delivery, our teams tend to be driving at a fast pace, looking at each prioritized set of work to identify the most effective way to develop, test, and demo for the product owners. These activities can become a bit of “rinse and repeat” as teams drive towards the eventual release of the product.

When that release does finally occur, whether it be 2 sprints or 12, it is a monumental occurrence. Pushing approved, working code into production, and providing business value to the end users is the crowning achievement of any team. Even if you are pushing code to production every sprint, that is a huge accomplishment regardless of the size of the changes being deployed.

Why then, do so many teams immediately had back into the heads down, tactical sprint delivery with no pause to celebrate the win that just happened? While we may focus our teams on sprint retrospectives, too often we forget to have a release retrospective. We forget to stop, reflect, and celebrate our accomplishments.

My colleague, Craig Vosper, likes to say that production releases are like the Super Bowl. We prepare all season, pushing and adjusting as we go, all in anticipation of the biggest game of the season. After we win that game, should we just immediately start playing the next season?

Of course not, instead we review the prior season and the big game in detail. We talk about the great accomplishment and win that we just had. Most importantly, we celebrate.

Then, we can start to focus on the next season and what we’ll try and accomplish. We can plan for our next release and talk about the goals and objectives we wish to meet.

Don’t forget to stop, reflect, and most importantly – celebrate!