4Ls Retrospective – Like, Learn, Lack, and Long for!
Nothing sticks in your memory and is easy to say on the tongue like a good alliteration. The 4Ls retrospective, also known as a project retrospective, focuses on what teams Liked, Learned, Lacked, and Longed For. Perhaps this is why we enjoy conducting them.
Agile teams adore this well-known method because it enables them to create short- and long-term targets for future advancements.
What is the Four L (4L’s) Retrospective?
The 4L’s Retrospective is an agile retrospective that helps teams improve their performance and learn from their past. It focuses on four key areas:
The 4Ls retrospective is divided into four sections:
- Liked – What aspects of this sprint/iteration/project did the team like?
- Learned – What did the team learn throughout this sprint, iteration, or project?
- Lacked – What was it that the team was lacking at this time?
- Longed for – What do the members of the team long for?
The goal is to help teams focus on improving themselves instead of blaming others or external factors for their problems.
In Agile product management, a team holds a regular (usually daily) meeting to discuss issues that arise during the sprint. At this meeting, they identified what went well and did not go well during the sprint. They then look at ways to improve their process or workflow to do better in the future. The result of this meeting is called a Retrospective.
Who Should Use a 4Ls Retrospective Techniques?
A 4Ls Retrospective is a great way to improve team dynamics, communication, and trust. It’s also a way for managers to get honest team feedback.
Here are some of the groups that can benefit from this type of retrospective:
- Teams that need to improve team dynamics
- Teams that aren’t communicating well with each other
- Project teams that want to improve the flow of information between different roles and departments
- Software development teams who are struggling with technical debt or want to improve their code quality
When Can You Use a 4Ls Retrospective Techniques?
The 4Ls retrospective technique, like the majority of other retrospective forms, works best when the project is finished, but the memory of the process is still fresh. Therefore, everyone can enter the new project with plenty of tools and a clear focus for improvements. The retrospective period should occur after the project has been completed and before the start of the next one.
How to Run a 4 Ls Retrospective?
The 4ls retrospective examples are well-liked because it is simple for a facilitator to put up and simple to understand. The 4 Ls method is quicker than conventional retrospectives, taking only 30 to 60 minutes to finish.
1. Set the Tone and Expectations
First, set the tone for the retrospective. It’s essential to make sure that everyone has a chance to speak up, so you must make sure that everyone is comfortable speaking up in front of their peers. You can start by asking everyone to introduce themselves and say what they are working on.
2. Prepare the Space
Next, prepare the space by removing distractions (phones and laptops) or anything that might be annoying (music). Make sure there are plenty of sticky notes and pens available. Make sure there is enough coffee and snacks too!
3. Gather Your Team
This doesn’t need to be everyone on the team — just those involved in the project or activity you’re reviewing. The more people, the better, but you don’t want it to become unmanageable.
4. Uncover What Lacks
As the facilitator, it’s your job to lead this discussion by asking open-ended questions about what went wrong during past sprints or releases instead of leading people in a specific direction by asking specific questions (e.g., Why did we miss our release deadline?). Give them time to think about their answers before you ask them out loud so they can come up with their ideas rather than repeating what others have already said.
5. Assign Followups and Action Items
The most important thing you can do at the end of a 4L retrospective is assigned follow-ups and action items. The team needs to know what they need to do to move forward with the improvements made during the retrospective.
6. Positively Conclude the Retrospective
Finish your retrospective with one of our closing exercises to ensure everyone leaves the meeting feeling upbeat. Even though the main stage was challenging, everyone will grin as they go retro if there is something sweet and heartwarming like “Thank you cards”!
Tips to Create a Successful 4Ls Retrospective
These tips will help you implement 4Ls retrospectives examples successfully:
At the start of the ceremony, the facilitator should make it plain to everyone that this is a time to evaluate the positive and negative aspects of the previous working cycle. It might seem overstated to say that each session, but it is not. If everyone understands the meeting’s goal, the meeting will be a success. A retrospective’s success depends on ensuring the team is honest and comfortable sharing their opinions.
Listen to Your Team
Let the group discuss what took place. It is fundamental to refrain from interjecting when someone is speaking. Don’t talk to someone who is speaking without consideration and sensitivity. Make a note of any pertinent topics the team brings up. You show the group that you are on their side by doing that.
Encourage Your Team to Come Up with Ideas
Encourage your team to develop action plans to address issues throughout the iteration. To keep everyone in the group motivated and unified for the project’s successful completion, it is crucial to demonstrate to them that challenges must be overcome collaboratively. Selecting a champion for each of the group’s prioritized action items is one idea that might be helpful.
Be an Aggregator
Avoid setting up a “witch hunt” atmosphere for team problems. Remind them and make it evident to them that the goal at this time is to try to discover the issues and prevent them from happening again. Be a part of the team, contribute, and work to inspire resiliency in your teammates.
Gathering your agile team and having them write their input on sticky notes and add them to a whiteboard is the most straightforward approach to doing a 4Ls retrospective. The efficiency of your retrospective can be considerably increased by employing an online whiteboard, and digital sticky notes as more and more teams operate remotely or in a distributed environment.
To communicate with your team members in real-time chat without using another program, use Scrum Planning Poker.