to do in their retrospective, set aside a few minutes to consider how they'll evaluate success and track progress.
One team chose a goal of increasing their automated unit testing by writing at least one test for each story they worked on. They added a column on their task board to track the unit tests for each story. A team that wanted to improve code quality by pairing created a tracking sheet and made a check mark each time they caught a defect that would have been missed without another pair of eyes.
I established a "weigh-in day" to help hold myself accountable.
A structure can be anything that creates an opportunity for the team to do what they've committed to do. The team who started pairing created and posted a pairing schedule. A team who wanted to improve their design skills did cooperative reading and set up a weekly lunch to share key ideas.
I am lucky to have a husband who will eat pretty much anything I put on his plate and is willing to grill whatever I bring home from the store. (Plus, I suspect he had a vested interest in seeing me lose a few pounds, so he wasn't going to work against my goal. Just guessing.)
Support can be an "atta boy," or it can be access to books, training, coaching, and experts. The team who wanted to improve their refactoring purchased books and supported each other by walking through their refactorings with each other.
A Counter Balance
That was fine for when I was at home, but I travel. That's where the extra pounds came from in the first place.
As soon as the waitress set the plate in front of me, I'd cut the portions down to size: a serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards. A cup of pasta is about the size of a tennis ball. I didn't have to rely on will power to stop eating; I had a handy heuristic and a specific action to help me stick to my food plan.
When you review retrospective actions, think about what will make it hard to stick to the resolve. Use a Force Field analysis to identify the factors that will propel the change forward and those that will restrain the change. What can the team do to strengthen the drivers, and reduce the retraining factors? (See the hand-drawn chart of a force field analysis below.)
Most changes aren't no-brainers, even when they sound simple on the surface. Save a little time in your retrospective to identify how the team can use feedback, structure, and support to help them make the change. Consider it insurance for the investment you've made in a retrospective.