Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mindmap retrospective

One common way I do a quick retrospective after exercises to "burn the fuel of experience" is a observation retro. I first learned to do these via post-it notes and then grouping them into clusters based on similarity. I still like and do this method a lot but find myself doing a mindmap version very often because of the ease and iterative nature of it. This is a short write up on how to do one.

Mindmap from Agile2017 session "The ROI of Learning Hour"

  1. Open a mind map
    (I use mindmup )
  2. Label middle (blue) node
  3. Collect observations from the audience 
  4. Add structure as needed

Collecting Observations

This is pretty simple. Ask for observations. When someone shouts them out add them to the mind map. It's ok to rephrase them, try to get them as short as possible (1-2 words) but if you can't add a whole sentence if needed. For example someone might say "the chart with urgent things getting in the way of important things" for which I would type up as "Important vs urgent"
Another side note is to ask for "observations" rather than "learnings". This might seem small but it can make a large difference to the amount of feedback you get. Learnings can be intimidating and makes it seem like there are right and wrong answers.

Adding Structure

Anytime I saw 2 or more concepts that had a similar base or extended an idea I would add that node and move around the map. I highlighted these examples in yellow above. This does a couple of things
  1. Calls out abstractions
  2. Triggers more observations
You might notice I also added "thresholds" even though there was only 1 idea under it. Or that I didn't add small changes over time, but did extend the ideas of 300 pushups, micro habits & change blindness to it. 

Abstractions also trigger variations. If we are looking at this blog post and someone points out the Labels, I could abstract it to fonts. In which case they might also point out the bold or normal fonts. But I could also abstract it to "Formatting' in which case I might get color (black, blue), Numeric lists, tabs, images and text justification. 
Either way more of the experiences is being inspected.

This process of adding structure to the observations is an interesting way of facilitating. Sort of reminds me of 'training from the back of the room' (although I am clearly at the front of the room during this)