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TOTW - Retrospectives
0:01 However body great hunter here with product growth leaders it's time for our topic of the week conversation this week we're talking about retrospectives on the value can gain from them today on the panel we've got Jason vincent that Like Fenton Tom Steve Johnson and looks like we're Gonna have one more person joining I just heard a doorbell errors paul her away and Paul Horowitz were
0:26 talking about retrospectives today and I want to dive right in
0:30 did you put more words on that sly place actually I had to go to a second one retrospect has got a lot of words I I appreciate that sir sorry there was no I'll give great his own page there was there was a there was a trigger point
0:46 they the pain comes forward with that with that Yeah that a great got his own page he had so much and either and I'll be honest was very viable eggs and Jason and jon share page one
1:00 with My Little comment on John John Malcolm's Ah but the question this week was we recommend doing product and process retrospectives at least once a year what is your approach stew and timing of retrospectives that we're going to go to Jason First This is the top answer but I have to give some context Stephen I originally put we recommend doing them at the end of the year and Jason came out said you know what for most product people end of the year is tough because of what we say you're right there's a lot of before stuff around releases and supporting sales and that type of stuff he gave a little jab to product leaders who may think it's a good time to do it but he looked at January Jason talked to me about January in that refreshes this is a sort of like your New Year's resolution is Yeah no Yeah absolutely January a good people have a lot of maybe renewed energy for the In all the years road maps you know later looking at twenty twenty one road map properly stance Q one point on E and and now they're actually Gonna get to the point of the delivering a full year's worth of road maps biggest sales is less male full year Sales we don't really want to queue for you now also airways kind of france is less of a close usually in January unless these come over from December and so it's it's a really good opportunity to say Because we know what we do better this year than we did last year and what might said enough money out of us ah Yeah what are some degree things we did last year that we can continue to do well or even I couldn't even do better there well so is it didn't seem like airbase back from occasion they have fresh eyes press attitudes is better armed better times are coming many changes fiber from a from a product standpoint you know from a party leaders there did you say about what you generate others brotherhood like even in November of a Q of Q four before I don't know Jack Jason you got me thinking I think it's Patti labelle embrace got a new attitude right
3:04 I totally agree with Jason on this arm I've found December's a dead month sales is trying to finish out strong near but everybody else people are on vacation people are really just a light month to the end January that's you you've you've set your goals for the year you've set your road map for the next couple of quarters on and now it's everything okay what you you had your runway going near you start that you started planning a November December what you're Gonna work on in January and February but now it's you can have time to care how should we do things a little bit differently this year than we did last year see by I get that but I remember when I was a director of product management january is when we had our sales kick offs so I was busy doing presentations and in going to the European kick off in and that type of stuff so it almost seems like whenever there's always something going on Steve What's your take
4:05 well I'm the one who said I thought we ought to do in December and then you know Jason Thirty seconds later said Steve you Pick big Stupid Jerk you shouldn't say that I may be paraphrasing a little bit here Jason but I my real suggestion was not so much december versus January but um that you need to do it and I find so many of the Good hygiene that were supposed to be doing is leaders just simply don't get done because of all the firefighting now it makes a ton of an in you know John you talked about in your post the second one here feel like you could improve on it but you do on a regular basis do a light one one talked to me about the lightweight version verses you what you called the post mortem guess that the
4:56 the lightweight version is after launches my Okay Manage nihilists duo sort of it's not a process it's just something that's sort of what we decide will do it's not like baked in the house work gets done which I think it should be so what is a bank like Lehman what we have done better what went well maybe we'll grab the whole team but I I don't think I've done anything grabbing whole team this year
5:20 so it's it's at I would say it's a pretty big gap the flip side of that is the post mortems that are generally led by the engineering teams whenever something is ben Baz gets broken obviously when people break into Google a lot of people notice and so we do that we have a very rigorous very define us for going through after the fact same kinds of categories one went well what went poorly where do we get lucky things like that right
5:51 and then had sex with a polish broadly in and the whole team can learn from them The mistakes and the successes but we need to do a better job of that on things that don't break it's interesting John I was listening to our our conversation on tough decisions you talked about at Google how you almost have to convince people why should keep doing something I would I would have thought that culture would have almost been more into a retrospective type you know why should we keep doing it this way we should we always be sharpening the side and improving it I would have thought actors would have been a a natural there and that man's mindset I completely agree in there maybe teams within Google to do it
6:32 but I don't think it's been formalized in the same way those postmortem himself and so this this of the way hang on man and I like the word retrospective instead of post mortem because post mortem somebody died
6:46 will get hadley they were doing it when something goes bad most likely very visibly yes path and you know is similar to like the discussion about win loss analysis we almost always say why did we lose that deal and very rarely does anybody say why do we win deals and it seems to me you know good knowing why you win deals is even more important
7:10 the thicket edited the distinction with the post mortem is you're trying to figure out how we would never listen never happen again ever since so that's the whole goal that is that okay we acknowledge this mistake but how are we making it so this will never happen again or retro is or isn't is kind of like different it's a net as you said steve it's a it's a different type of thing and I I completely agree that we should be doing post mortems when something completely going or false on it's face but retro are different different animal at her on it's all uneven at the execution level just they're just very fair enough yeah that's it
7:48 Post mortem is a loss avoidance survey management I mean it's interesting if you had covered what I my comment had been about the win loss about the post mortem we often tend to do it I'd never thought about it that way when it comes to our retrospectives Post mortems Greg I'm going to let you just continue the thinking I you know I could have I could have put three pages worth it if you haven't nine greggs full answer on the community i suggest you go check it out but Maybe I feel like we found a subject matter expert on retrospective so greg the floor is yours All the man subject matter experts are we not be able to flash on a screen afternoon not knocking own do that don't look now going to our subject matter expert who gun almost every time I actively reached out to somebody say hey You're Gonna be on the call right
8:41 from a from my experiences the retro US are kind of in a different at multiple different label levels are are you talking tactical like released by released by release tactical Metro where you have your teams get together and you ask the the standard three questions in know what did we do well in this release what'd we'd weed out do we do poorly on this release and what should we stop doing in then recording owes an end and memorialize in each one of those so it's it's it's a continual improvement amongst the teams and then at an enterprise level you really want to share that that information so that's a kind of a tactical thing and then as you're going along in what I'm writing here is that no honor of program increment if if you're at the program increment levels like quarterly is this is a product thing so you're gonna bring it up in and kind of emerging strategy and tactics Same time it's like okay what did we actually accomplish during this entire you know increment either quarterly or however you want to do it it doesn't matter that monthly quarterly doesn't matter so you know what did we actually do wells Product team
9:54 with our partners with business and our stakeholders and things like that how can we improve this it's a little bit different and then in ot Jason you said you know like no we like to do this in two january which I can i can fully appreciate
10:09 but what I've observed is that using the dead time of December because so many companies that I've worked with you will not release in December period Yeah why we have to acknowledge teams will kill you if you're going to release like you know after the after the second really in a week of december you are dead meat if you're thing I'm trying to release something so I take I take those times at a stretch it more if they bring it even higher strategy levels of like okay what's the business trying to do you know we've gone through
10:46 in are all outside of business planning what's my it's Gonna be for next year Blah Blah all that stuff so now I take that time to kind of sit back with at the strategy level and say okay how did we how do we measure against our successes in a we had all these plans to do in in twenty twenty had we do what are we Gonna do because then I take their time with my team's two Gonna do that and and bringing stakeholders in and in all the CEOS and all those guys and say what are we doing Gonna do Better to meet the goals that doubt that we've all agreed to for twenty twenty one and in all as grant you said that just January everybody's off running CE got out year you as a product Ireland Busy as all get out with the sales Guys You're You're down and dirty and so gets really kind of like you know you have maybe the first two weeks in January and then you're off to the races based on my own personal off Yeah come on it but you on deck because you haven't commented yet but I want to ask you a question great you got a you come from a more development engineering background least and I do do feel that that type of background puts retrospect values retrospectives more
12:03 Yeah I think so because from it but you know Steve you're saying like okay what do we do from a sales point of view that my my experience has been that's actually very rare I agree tom says trying to bring that from you in our technology side the you know post mortems and bringing it higher
12:26 in the sales team is been really hard i greenery hard for me to do that you know been trying to blame you for interacting by the developers and product managers think system
12:42 and sales people think expedite Do whatever it takes to get it done and then never speak of it again but I find the developers and project managers look at everything in terms of there Gonna be a process for this don't you find
13:00 Yeah I agree with I totally agree with that in in united I'm trying not to be preachy or any of that stuff but it's just you know it's ah but when you actually get the ruck doug you know your teams together as a as equals and actually sit down with the with the guys and say okay why did we not do something
13:23 that opens that opens a lot of eyes on quickly yeah so one part that Is
13:31 Painful even after even at the young technology execution is the you know what should we stop and do win thing and hopefully not do it
13:48 it's one thing to say you're Gonna Stop Julian actually have to start up Yeah so the US government grow in in memory know as soon as any memory is very short
14:01 sometimes short memory is good right because you made a mistake you want people to have copies to do it sometimes short memory is bad because you said we should stop doing something because it had a bad result yet we forget about that we keep doing it every company has that one sales guy never remembers when deals went bad and always makes the bad deals no matter what you do they always cabin a exactly and it's always Kevin
14:29 Dan Kevin I alarm you but you've had the chance to take in all this conversation and I'm looking for something really really brilliant here
14:40 cause now you're now you're now you're in trouble yeah again be a lot of dead space there
14:47 actually really is an interesting conversation kind of fun puts into words a lot of the prophecies are thoughts that there has been no legs i've been part of for some some time as far as the Frequency of their retrospectives is far easier for me the products I've been on we've Dunham at the end of a release an and to the point that if they're never done it releases are never done in December That's true that's just asking for trouble right job so therefore the retrospectives were never at the end of the year because the release never what typically would be targeting spring or summer for that so would be off cycle not regard
15:36 and most of the time they the releases have been annual in nature so would get annual retrospectives In effect but again never had it in a year but always at the end of the release with the Kodak is a civilian defense tech industry software that runs banks rise of this was not asked a thing where you push a dog OH one gotten to this is a knock and you're almost water gathers two year year one year as you said approach
16:06 Yeah Yeah you can't in with the financial institutions you can't just take open out releases and expect that they're Gonna take it
16:15 at had clients who have been on versions that have been fifteen twenty years old and trying to get them to something that was in the last five years is is a challenge at times They're just not going to take the next one and and utilize that so the feedback from them is kind of patchy at times but we can't just release every quarter then there's too much overhead matt and trying to get it out and yet people to use it so it's always an annual to eighteen month release and the retrospect his eyes at the end of that and then they are the common about post mortem making sure that those two concepts are
16:53 separated is really critical because I post mortem is more of a case by case analysis as to what happened there is somebody had said penn making sure we don't do that again so it is an interesting discussion that regard making sure those two are separated and then A frequency of the retrospective in the issue that I've had in the past with retrospectives is trying to keep it from turning into a a bitch session
17:22 people show up and just want to complain instead of being constructive and that's not the goal here has any three used outside the sanitation somebody outside the team before still out because I'd never thought about that but I've seen that happen in it sometimes having an outside facilitator I've seen it work with strategic planning where outside facilitator helps get people out of the bitch mode because you don't have somebody who's biased leading the conversation I've i worked in to organizations that have used safe which I know in some product management circles as a dirty word but it in if I worked for Aetna in a huge organization like Aetna Safe actually I thought worked Pretty Well and they did bring somebody from outside of those the safe trains that we were working on in our part of the organization to facilitate retrospectives and retrospectives were huge things that we did at the end at after every release which we did quarterly Yeah
18:26 glad to hear somebody's Gonna come to tom's point I've been in those but sessions and I've been able in If I'm the head of product director of product when the case was of these that My I put my Head down and I bull rush through because I feel like it's a personal thing not a but I probably missed stuff at the time back in the day let's go to the poll The poll was how often do you do product and process retrospectives Jason I have to bring you back in on this because not only did you call us on almost prescribing at the answer of when you should because we said end of the year but also you caught me at a typo here I said product and product is that a project process I appreciate that what did you vote for Yeah we're going to comment I voted for never in that's just currently
19:18 so I used to believe what they were really dumb these were really formal like a setting I think formalized formalizing it processes probably really good to get everybody in line of thinking about things cause a receiver you could be stuck getting pulling people into this process of it's ad HOC and internet really ready for it you can bring ideas in in the last you want is them to signal after you have this retrospective of here's something Else I wanted to talk about so giving a minute some time to come clear their head and bring that to the US the retrospective meetings is Ali good but you know up in my previous organization we would do this but it was more at hoc and not as formal and currently i don't think we're doing it at all so as I said a lot I had said after ever release but then after reading a greggs a dissertation I
20:14 I start thinking about the fact that I really didn't do it well it was sort of a we sat down I
20:20 bought lunch for the team and we would sort of talk it wasn't structured it wasn't an hour if I said anything I probably would change my actions I would change my answer to never probably realistically because I really didn't do a retrospective it wasn't a you know is pry more of a hey let's shoot it whatever ah
20:41 we'll get into it were where I think that I am going to be bout could have evolved my vote to annually but Greg I'd like to get did you vote on this one I did not vote if I were to vote I would actually put it into after every release in the area in the very least i was realizing I did not have enough options for you because you would have been after ever release quarterly annually
21:03 get one of those two depends and I would and I I totally agree with Thomas slightly they turn into bitch sessions very quickly IT doesn't matter what level the that's where you need like the strong like program manager that is you know running it or if you can't do it bring in outside who is just like guys this that's a bitch move at all down to the parking lot you Guys can deal with it later you know type of thing let's get constructive and knows that discipline is is hard it's really hard in it's in it's a learned trait that you you just to do it over and over again and people learn what's what's constructive and what's a bitch session that goes in the parking lot you guys you Guys go Duke it out the parking lot you know sometime later
21:49 in in all that what's the purpose of all of this
21:54 In the purpose is always to kind of like improve and grow as opposed to like you know be personal because you just unite the people will batch mean it's just something goes wrong I didn't get what I want at all other all that stuff happens and it happens it's Gonna happen were in a word and high pressure situations most the time Anyway I would love to get somebody's in A I think you know with with John Moore That When you have like continuous deployment you're continuously integrating continuously deployment there isn't a concept of like release
22:33 like I'm developing I tested I deployed Within a day or even within hours that
22:40 that one I think it's really interesting of hot what is a retro mean in that case though Grab let's use as a punter jon Ah dessert Gonna put him on the spot that's all
22:53 I think that's the half the point of these calls anyway
22:56 here's put people on the spot see it yes is interesting in a land of continuous deployment you obviously aren't I do a retro after every release because now be like half your job just be retro these are small things it just happened
23:12 but I think any time you're taking a subdued sub a big chunk brand new feature
23:17 of gmail redesign live up is the big chunks are epics if you wanna call on that after that goes to jay is probably a good time to do a retro and honestly
23:28 if I was going to write the script for google the way that we could do things it might even be worthwhile to do those things when they go into a dog The population because it's like twenty thousand good looks are using something yeah that's a population of a unitary what what well what went poorly what what do we need to stop certain continue am before you push it out into the well but maybe that's just semantics at night I wrote it I didn't if I had voted I would have voted for option number six ad HOC authorize Paul I know you need to drop off a little bit want to give you a chance did you vote on this he didn't what would you vote I ended up not voting when I was in the safe environments we did it after every release which was quarterly but when I've been in other
24:16 other environments we've done it annually around like January February time like I know Jason does it AH or on an as needed basis if something was just decided was not working well was more devious type right so all right steve well my first reaction is isn't it interesting how the way you write a survey question collars the answer Because I read this as how often should would you do retro and you guys all correctly answered the question which is how often do you big difference between those two things
24:59 I typically have been doing retro is at the end of each class each workshop that I do
25:08 and I do run into a lot of complaining and if if I got one person in particular and usually I do I start timing on and I say you know what I'm going to give you three minutes to bitch about this and when you're done and I'll give you you know I'll give you a flag on the play Euchre We managed to get it out of your system and then if you ever repeat yourself I call you on that
25:32 and there was one case years ago the grants her the story where they during the retro they kept complaining about the under skilled at ease and are in hour after I heard it three times I finally said you know what I've heard this story it always reaches the same non conclusion so I'm just Gonna call you on it every time is it begins and and recover the ten minutes we waste on this topic and that seem to go over actually pretty well and I it will achieve what will do will color coded you know that that bitch about the sales engineers is blue and you know complaining about the sales people discounting too much is green so you know imagine I've got a whole bunch of different coloured cards I can just hold up like a soccer coach would
26:17 never have told me that Store Yesterday got Mana Wonders Familiar I mean a Lotta times you throw me the softballs of stories you think i remember and I told him ten years ago but you remembered them and I've long forgotten them
26:31 way that we part of it was when teaching a course that you would help create a lot of the the top track to its stuck in your head so and I always attribute everything to as to you on that course even though probably sometime those other people's soon hum must always me Tom did you vote if not what would you voted for a baton I'm sorry just in dry ice it's been great so far but I do have a hard stop I going to drop have a great weekend everyone anything and Ah blinker
26:59 no I didn't vote and I would have Done after ever release but then the qualifier for that is something that you'd brought up as well that the releases due to the nature the industry is Gonna be annual Corso
27:11 are right and and steve
27:14 right before you said what you said as they get out we should have I wonder if we should have said how often should you do
27:21 but I'm not allowed to redundant to the first question on that so I'm Gonna go out and break out of character out of template and while not not for me truckers never out a template for me for it but Greg's dissertation made me think about this wonderful quote from peter drucker planning is not an event is a continuous process of strengthening what works and abandon what does not of making risk taking decisions with the greatest knowledge of their potential effect and maybe roast start thinking about
27:53 should retrospectives really be A he's a stage of strategic her annual planet right I've been in strategic planning a lot and we never did retrospectives we always did planning forward but if part of planning is that looking back at what works and what didn't work in evolving should we be building retrospectives into our annual strategic Annie
28:20 has a big question I'm inclined to say yes to that I mean but then be now in a in all of my course where I always finish with a retrospective in particular I mean i'm talking about here some ways to read In your part your process and new rethink the way you do stories rethink the way you do Acceptance Criteria so as as you go through a training at least it's like well you know I've given you guys a lot of different ideas which ones you're Gonna start which ones are you Gonna Ignore I mean at that seems like a very natural part of training but it certainly seems to me a very natural part of strategic planning as well
29:07 Yeah like Oh God I love this least agree with that I think that part of that is looking back on it it's the look back in order to go forward type of thing but there's a danger so the look back Okay you know we said that these were going to be R R objectives and goals for the year here is what we said were are we success metrics or we were we put our knows where we just you holy optimistic off ball in how do we get better at that one of the things that were missing in our sales guys missing in all information are the product guys missing You know what's going on in the market and customer interactions what what are you missing nest at the strategic level as opposed like tactical don't get into the bitch session of like well the technology guys didn't execute me it's non that's not helpful but I could see Elegant I'm looking through this lens that I wasn't looking through when I was an executive or a product manager in in me part of that thinking about you know you're you're you're answer had been thinking a lot of things about this and I start thinking about it's not just We always did the results we always looked at the alarm key success factors whatever what you know what revenue growth what profitability the the tangible results but I almost look at US now as I as a product leader I should be thinking about In my head you are planning actually be thinking about also how AM I going to evolve my organization my team to make sure we're getting we're continually getting better we're learning we're learning organization and we're continually improving and sharpening the saw
30:47 not just the you know market focused parts of it but the execution part those who do not study history Yeah dead armed are
30:57 going to finish it Greg yeah so one of the things that has been my Unfortunate experiences that
31:07 you know in twenty nineteen we wanted to do these things and I'm just picking a year and you guys didn't deliver why should I believe that you would do this and twenty old the next number of things and twenty two
31:19 Pick a year doesn't matter why should I believe you to do this and that they and how do you do rail that conversation
31:29 and I think that the the retrospective part of that are retrospect access as a partner with your owner will kind of disarm summer that some of their criticisms
31:44 in it's not a blame it's not only those things it's like hey listen we understand that we missed off on whatever it doesn't matter
31:52 that goes here's how we're going to improve going forward how you help us improve
32:00 Because it's just you know if you talk to sales guys you're never good enough but it it just goes on and on and on so how do you actually kind of move the business forward if it's some new innovation you're going to do some new no technology new system whatever going forward how you Gonna achieve those in that's I think that's the value of a retro
32:26 and that's why I say the retro our strategic at that level not tactical releases like tactical it's interesting cause I I criticize a lot of leadership teams because I feel like their annual strategic planning is to rear view mirror We're looking at what's happening what are our sales trends what you know what of our numbers look like that what's changing in the mark and understanding and I I challenge them to become more market focused you look into the future based on the trends in the market and in anticipation of that type of stuff but I this is a place where to me the retrospective is really good about how do we ourselves and our own performance about how do we exit new strategy tactics execution how do we do that process so I you know it's opened my eyes to think water about
33:13 the key aspects to be thinking about new strategic annual planning on yo John Jason any thoughts on retrospectives as part of Strategic Land our strategic her annual planning Yeah I think the The retro is good for me he said all three levels four think critically for the execution level of things am I the rituals are extremely useful in end and like bad business capability building christ What capabilities do you need to improve upon going forward which ones are great you know investing your strengths shore up your weaknesses like anything so I think the writers are great for that but I think that you always have to be especially strategically Skating to where the puck is Gonna be Thank you Wayne Gretzky
33:57 for for lack kids say like right here in toronto are you considering Wayne Gretzky bigger Takaki I could talk it hockey fan so Yeah that's that's my view on it I'm to be a part of everybody's process and probably in a sad number of cases is not my
34:14 Palmer Jason any last thoughts on this one before moving the next question Damn kind of Arm I I really like you have my own back especially large strategic meetings with executives from a price standpoint so retrospect this is a great way of doing that certainly there's opportunities for improvement but when you're talking about two seater angle clearly you know what did we do that were that was really great from a product sample you guys have sent us earlier what we deliver out of that impact our customers out of the impact markets any kind of cape guys are goals and really use dat ass art form to dry inspiration to for the for the planning process for next year and also to allow us to challenge ourselves to deliver more and be greater than we were the year before then in that really supports were Greg was saying earlier I mean if you say hey look we set out this year to make eighteen million in revenue and we made eighteen point five so obviously we've done something right and you can trust me when I say it this year we're Gonna do twenty one million so your track record supports the conjecture about you you are worth listening to
35:32 the interesting part is that you know I worked in a abortion Multiple industries I worked actually in consumer an industrial electronics so the other side of that is if you made eighteen point five million and you said you're going to make eighteen million there's actually a bigger conversation about okay wait a minute you made an extra you know you made extra money
35:53 why did you do that what was what was a drivers to actually make more than you planned on it is not a negative it's like okay you know what is you do ah you mister targets Saw in others percentages and all that stuff you you Mister targets so that that that's a drop everything and innovation entrepreneurship he talked about signs for innovation one of them is unexpected success unexpected success one homes unexpected failure and so if you don't look at that right now maybe five hundred thousand on an eighteen million bases and big I've I've heard some people use plus or minus three percent I've had sales leaders who say if my sales team does not come within plus or minus three percent In their goals and in in their projections of what they're Gonna do they're doing it wrong
36:43 so I I I I have ice ice I liked the fact that great that you've been in a place where people actually they do that because I think is very valuable to US to ask those questions right the unexpected success and the unexpected failures so it's not just the post mortem
36:57 so tom any thoughts on this before we move forward
37:03 not a lot just Yeah I be men clearly agree with whatever ever have already found a sadly out I wish the strategic planning for for my experience and what I've involved as I wish strategic retrospectives were involved in strategic planning or at the annual planning process it would really shed more light on that planning process to ask the next question which again sadly It was frequently never asked Us how are we going to do it then it's just thrown up and said this is what we're Gonna do in there there wasn't any thought as to what how you'd never done that before and and the retro active might give some insight into that maybe get them to start asking a question of how I am going to go off on a tangent here which Stephen I often do I was doing some research on D Day I was trying to use it as a strategic planning
38:00 Story and I had member learning about the failure of the try to invade through d up the Canadian forces went into the app and our communication was cut off in the shores the grade on their shores was too high and the sand was too soft and things got stuck in it but
38:19 all of the ally commanders looked at everything that went wrong there
38:25 and then used it to make d they actually work so they actually sent Jaya geologists undercover into Normandy the action starts doing cause of the soil had people sitting that postcard from their trips to Normandy to see what the geography I can see if they could get four have places the makeshift landing gear so retrospectives are more one of the keys for the success of the day often it's good enough for that right everybody should be doing
38:53 Beating after i Guess You'd never me exactly all right next question where do you think retrospectives provide the most value process improvement product improvement or something else and I have to lead with greg on this one because he's again our dissertations subject matter expert on
39:18 We have to finish your sentence that greg knows it's time to dot effect congress are exactly such an
39:28 Archaic I think it's yes so dumb unfortunately to profit at the tactical level it's frosts proven right you know what did we do well you know how do we work together as a team all those things the process thing but better at observer release and and you know quarterly or strategic or whatever that's more of a product improvement type of thing reich did we did we actually do what we said we're going to do did we actually achieve our goals We set in place in the beginning in every didn't why didn't we come in and go we go forward from there
40:10 all right Jason I got to because I feel like me giving US attention a greg may have you a little disappointed because normally you get my jokes ah what's your take on this process product or something else
40:26 now with reality so I actually am kind of curious on what we're talking about with product improvement retrospective because know i see but greg assist what you're talking about I see us Delivering on what we are planning to deliver is part of our process right so is unaware are are planning process or Asia process and an hour process of delivery and so I feel like even if passable level that's on our process so we say a retrospective on product improvement the I don't know maybe you could shed some light per gram what we're talking about specifically there for me it was thinking about results right so I can get more efficient through my process and maybe the whole story that they're all tied together you get more efficient through your process they get better results from your product in them in the in the market Ah So
41:22 Where is the VAT where does the most value come from streamlining the internal processes or improving the individual product results
41:32 it's questionable i guess it's kind of like a funnel like a marketing funnel that right like yeah you can pour more into the top So you can try to ah yeah the funnels more or you can fix their conversion points so if you fix your process improvement you're ultimately Gonna get better products out the other side is Sonic Gonna look at it actually makes sense and actually I was thinking when Greg was talking that A third was something Else I would go to is individual contributor improvement right because through retrospective it's a chance that and that almost goes the top of the phone right individual contributor process you know it all comes through how do we do that
42:11 but I can see how that could happen Steve I'd love to get your take
42:16 on Yeah I'm I'm very much a process guy in the story
42:20 and the fact that you know I suppose if you looked looked at a like product track record that would still be part of the process I would be helpful Look at you're okay arms or you know we we estimated eighteen million yen had about work and the rest of that story that an intel was I turned in my eighteen million number in my boss said
42:44 I think you're sandbagging I think you can do sturdy and I went oh see I used a spreadsheet
42:55 I didn't just pull a number out of my air I mean I was I live it and that's certainly the neck and it was interesting I I moved on and my replacement called me one day and said where did you come up with this thirty million number and I and I said well had to do she said oh yeah we did eighteen break
43:15 i Guess you're eighteen I went yeah that was my number and is an issue the word you come up with your number and I said you still work for him
43:25 but it occurs to me as we would like to buy this whole thing kind of taken this a whole different direction is I think that retrospectives are another symptom of the fact that we simply do not know how to have meetings
43:42 I I've been rereading dead by meeting which my OH my first time I read it this is by Patrick was the only person I read it I thought it was Gonna be you know meeting so don't go to them but what really happens is we're never in the right needing you have a retrospective somebody else says well HM you know I don't like the way we do bug tracking and you like do that is not this meeting call another meeting for that but this is a strategy
44:11 and so you know it's daily stand uPs turn into strategy meeting strategy meeting started to operational meetings and so if you're having that problem and I think we all are on up because we are virtual it's amazing how many meetings I've been an over the last few months where they have a very clear of jack outline and yet they're all over the place in terms of topic and you know it's not my meeting so I can't really wave lag and say hey blog on the flight year but nonetheless if you're struggling with meetings and I think retrospect isn't there really good example of one of those meetings they got derailed
44:49 get everybody in the leadership team a copy of death four If I mean it
44:55 there's a couple I am actually regretting eg the effective executive by drucker was talked about a lot of that same stuff and if you haven't read traction or scaling up for a harness I I kept Gino Wickman traction The whole concept of rocks in the Daily Mail and the weekly meeting and eight you know great way for for managing meetings that with asthma good advice on meetings their top before we move onto our rapid fire round to and any thoughts on this
45:23 Yeah yeah
45:26 the retrospectives mama process versus product improvement is is an interesting question in it
45:33 bolt should be done
45:37 what I smoke get my my specific experiences
45:42 a retrospective around products frequently wasn't done mid may not align with the same timeline as the full release it may be
45:52 release delayed that you start to look at specific products nets more of a nature of of the the industry that moment but looking at which products hit the mark which improvements hit the mark where should you be spending your money which two people really pick up on that doesn't get done as often as it should and doesn't get done if it is it's not done necessarily honestly
46:22 but process retrospective it neat starting with that it need to understand that process and what went wrong because that is going to impact your product improvements I might not get the product on because the process isn't working
46:38 but then I've got come back later and see okay the the product improvements we did make what worked and what didn't the that you just
46:47 tom and maybe think about something in the heath brothers in one of their books decisive talked about how process is more important than analysis by a factor of six when decision making and it seems like the one of that consensus is we're having here is processes probably A factor of six more important than product when it comes to the retrospective and how you improve it because you if you can improve that improving the process is key to improving the product if you can't create process how do you improve the product
47:22 Just if you if you have a good process regardless of what it is it didn't it it's working and it's smooth you get a lot done on the product you don't have to worry about the process and what's going on in trying to correct that all the time you can just focus on Roddick was that quote from Cooper edge five
47:43 was it the one about repeat
47:48 hang on sorry not having a process simply having a process is itself a best practice and in in my research around this I Am astounded at how many people describe their products but their processes at hot
48:02 gran you know they look at say that my Gosh oh my Gosh they're so overwhelming and it is but you know it bam When You're coming from we just do whatever the hell we want is our process than I can see how safe would be you know a little too much cricket ground even you should also tickled take into account the you know the process needs to fit but you're trying to do while cetera Yeah Elsa our rights and for some of the companies I work with you know they need a really lean process and others they you know they've got big risks involved are a lot of unknowns involved let need alarm a lot more processing I think that one of the grants I I I'm sure I banged periodically is every organization is unique and somebody else process doesn't fit your organization your unique and I mean that in the nicest of ways I always know we need is dial up exact know what is the right level a process where you at ease be more than a cocktail napkin but maybe less than something that was designed by Committee and that's why it retrospectives are so important because it's it's all shades of gray right there when teaching product management like I'm going to teach you black and white you Gotta find the right shade of grey for your organization and how you do it so I decided to have fun with this last rapid fire question and so we're Gonna do a retrospective for retrospectives and the question for each of you and Jason you are to my right so I'm going to start with you so start thinking about it yet the other I Ah how will you change your approach to retrospect retrospectives after this week's topic in conversation i Do I do want a strategic planning on a yearly basis I think that after this conversation today I will do my best to get retrospectives as part of the conversation looking backwards for it will be different a year well well well what what could have been improved um before we start talking about the future because I think that really provides a good tone for us as we talk about our strategy for the next year or two awesome Greg dick one of the things I would look at is see you know adapting their retrospective to what we're trying to accomplish
50:26 is where I would like I would go after right know right away so asking the question I think Steve you're kind of alluding to that is like what are we trying to get out of this
50:36 on first and then adapting you know what you know so now you can actually move things Parking lots things like that rather rapidly
50:47 you know in in being very clear with the team before the meeting shows up
50:54 Awesome tom
50:58 actually for the current position I got nothing will change
51:04 they admit may change with a different position numb nuts things evolve over the next year but right now as it stands right now it it wouldn't change anything Sat outside your control
51:15 nature of the company the size of the team in what we're doing just doesn't lend itself to some of the things we talked about here as it was back at Pfizer There might be some changes to that approach yeah like that's their
51:31 steve my God John to John Okay at well I was just going in order and look and left two rights okay well I was late on on my screen John is maxed that's why I was so startled Super
51:46 John go ahead okay
51:50 so Yeah but I think what I what I will do as a result of this conversation is we already do okay hours yearly and quarterly I cars and then score them on a quarterly basis I think we just rolled in some other retrospective concepts into that o cara scoring
52:04 I think that would be the right amount of process to start easing us into this I think I probably would work really well
52:11 on Steve
52:13 well I think that we should all be learning all the time so I think the retrospective is a way of bringing that to a focal point but as a result of this conversation Feel the need to write an article for the website so That's What I will do with Today's conversation an awkward greg frequently
52:35 is Gonna footnotes eggs both
52:39 Oh
52:41 I I think building on what Stephen in January by sad for me when youre
52:48 I will definitely build the importance of retrospectives it a more with a software company to help them build out their process and in for me retrospectives is now going to move higher up into my vision there but with when it comes to myself for myself and steve I think I need to do retrospectives myself I tend to get cotton Rabbit holes Ah in it the better I can learn why and how the better I can improve my own results right so I think that I'm going to take the concept of retrospectives to of that day where I'm like all the sudden I started something at night and it's four o'clock and I'm I'm that far down and oH wait i just lost a whole day take that last hour to say okay what where did I get off path where did they not doing so one for my consulting and one for my personal ah what will do that so
53:45 Greg
53:47 I appreciate the inspiration you brought Ah for this call You are now my Go to on retrospectives Che I
53:57 Shan die in Jason Tom and John Thank you for joining Steve and eye on this wonderful column retrospective as you guys though on one days we post the open ended question in the community on Wednesdays we got the pollen on Fridays we have this call so Jason Grind Tom John Steve as always thank you from meanwhile the highlights of my week on this car so thank you so much thank you make a gentleman actually fits I shake