In the world of agile software development, and the scrum framework in particular, frequent retrospective sessions with the team are a natural part of our work cycle. As scrum master and coach, I bring the team together to discuss how we are getting along with each other, whether we need to tweak our process to improve the flow of work, what recurring impediments we could solve, and what new concepts we could learn to improve overall teamwork.

Last week, I introduced my team to Edward de Bono’s Six Hats and Tuckman’s Model of the cycles that teams go through as they learn to work together (the Forming-Storming model). While both these models have been around for decades, they were new to the team members, and have been quite helpful in self-retrospection. The team now has a common language and a common mental model for understanding the team behavior since, after only 3.5 sprints, we are deep in the heart of the storming phase. And, they now have some options on what ‘hat’ they might choose to wear as they have difficult design choices to make. We also like using the Squad Health Check cards to assess 3-4 elements after each sprint.

But this week was a bit different. A good and healthy alternative. This week, our team manager is moving on to another company, spreading his own professional wings in other directions. So yesterday, instead of our normal retrospection, we took time for a bit of team bonding. We headed out to happy hour at a rooftop bar here in Lisbon to just enjoy each other’s company, learn a bit more about each other personally, and take a breather from the difficulties and stresses of the project. The outing was my idea, and apparently, a happy hour outing as a farewell is not too common. For me, these outings are the moment when the now-ex-boss shifts into possible friendship mode. Lisbon isn’t small, and we all may see each other again soon. It’s good to build bridges. And, our little excursion, much like personal vacations, are a chance to breathe deep, laugh a bit, strengthen the personal bonds on which the success of difficult decisions rely, and just have a bit of crazy fun.

And here’s my team. We took a normal straight photo, but then I wanted the crazy one. These taken at the Sky Bar at the Tivoli, on Avenida Liberdade, Lisboa. 🙂

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