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Building Continuous Improvement Mindset with Improvement Theme (Workshop)


Bosnia Agile Day

Agile retrospectives have been very popular and widely accepted practice in today’s software development. Many teams are trying to figure out ways how to find better ways to develop a software. On that journey many of them are left frustrated with retrospective process and outcomes. Having a retrospective after an iteration is the most commonly used approach by development teams. Unfortunately, very often this is not bringing desired results.

People are complaining that retrospective topics are too dependent on recent events and that there is not enough focus on important topics. What also happens very often is that the actions are agreed, but nothing is actually done in following iterations.

So, the question is what could we do to get everyone on same page?

One approach to this problem is to understand what is really needed to implement the change. Teams need to get rid off old and build new habits, more focused and experimental.

Improvement Theme is a tool in the form of a poster created by Jimmy Janlén from Crisp. As author describes, it works as a conveyor belt for continuous improvements once the retrospective is over. The tool is modification of the Toyota Kata concept.

Improvement theme consists of five areas:

  • Name of the Improvement Theme
  • Now/Problem – Description of the current situation
  • Definition of Awesome – How would we like it to be?
  • Next Target Condition – X weeks from now, what has changed?
  • First Steps – 3 slots for three post-its that describe the first (next) actions we will take?

In this workshop you are going to experience how it is to create improvement theme in a collaborative environment. You are also going to learn which questions to ask in each stage of the process and how to follow up after the theme is created.

Jovan VidicJovan Vidic