Episode 408: Terrible retrospectives and "hard to work with"


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. I am an electrical engineer working on and off with software for about 15 years. From mainframe applications with Cobol and PL/1 to plant floor supervisory systems with SCADA and some.Net along the way. 6 years ago my husband got an offer to move to Europe and I came along. Had to reinvent myself amidst the chaos of juggling life with a toddler, learning a new language and a new social tissue. After some time I landed a pretty nice job as a DevOps engineer at a pretty cool company. However, I have never really worked with scrum or agile methodologies before and, oh boy…I found out I HATE retrospectives. Like really hate them. They bring me down every time and I anticipate them with dreadful anxiety. I feel they’re just a way to blame other people for what’s not going so well and I don’t see ownership or any improvements actually being made. Action items are frequently just finger pointing and generally about people that are not even present in the retros. In order to improve engagement my boss said every team member is now responsible for the moderation of this dreadful thing and, surprise, surprise : I am next. How can I moderate something I just don’t believe in? I believe in improvement and learning from mistakes and I genuinely believe that we shouldn’t focus on people but processes. I also have to say my colleagues don’t feel the same way as they seem to love retros (yikes!). I think I’m too old/too skeptical for this. Please help!!! Ps.: I love your show and the episode on “that guy” changed my life. I’m forever grateful for the question asker and your answer.

  2. The Letter J:

    Can you please talk about the PIE theory (performance, image, exposure) and its importance, especially in highly political orgs? I lost my leadership role at a large GSI due to what I believe was a poor image. I felt I could not achieve targets without some level of collaboration (which became conflict once others didnt want to actually collaborate) We hit out targets, but unfortunately, by the time I realized I was labeled “hard to work with”, it was too late. Also, I hereby declare that Jamison is the Norm MacDonald of podcast, which is my highest compliment. Dave is some other comedian, also good. Seriously thank you both for all the humor and advice over the years, it’s been helpful and validating.

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