Daniel Irvine on building software
5 June 2010
Yesterday our team ended the week with an outdoor retrospective. June has started off with awesome sunshine and warmth here in London, so getting out of the office seemed like the right thing to do. There’s not much to love in the office anyway, so who wouldn’t want to escape to the fresh air? Come to think of it, I should work “from home” more often and then head to the park with my laptop...
Anyway: back to the original point. We found a wide bench and gathered round, some standing, some sitting. It was all very haphazard and quite beanbaggy. As it turned out, the outdoor setting and relaxed atmosphere made the meeting pretty productive. We’d had a fairly hectic iteration; debates were heated, the pace relentless and design shortcuts the norm. By the end a lot of nerves were frayed. I think it’s fair to say that we all expected a tense and painful retrospective. But in the event, no one lost their cool, and the tempo of the discussion stayed fairly constant and lively. We rattled through a whole spectrum of issues and not once did it turn personal.
Can we draw any conclusions from this? I’m fairly convinced that the setting played an important role. For sure, tension dissipated because the area was without walls. Having nature around us kept things in perspective: it’s not all a life-and-death situation. It’s only software!