I was at a party much too late last night (after the Agile2008 banquet), and it's good I was there. Just as I was getting ready to leave, two people walked over to me and told me a story about their retrospectives.

One of them thanked me for the book and said that it had helped in their retrospectives. Then he told me that the activities in the book had inspired him to create activities on his own. I asked if he would share an example with me.

He described how interpersonal conflicts and friction had plagued his team. As a result, interpersonal conflict issues took up too much of their retrospective time. Team members complained. They had little time available for dealing with other issues. Out of this situation, they created a variant use for their retrospectives.

The team developed a working agreement that goes something like this:

When any two or more people have a conflict, they are _required_ (as part of their membership on the team) to do a root cause analysis on the problem. Together.

My new colleague said that it's rare when this doesn't resolve the problem. However, that's only the first step.

They also must bring their analysis to the next retrospective and jointly report it to the rest of the team. In this way everyone can learn from their experience. After several iterations of this retrospective activity, disruptive interpersonal conflicts have become much rarer. People resolve differences as a matter of course before they become bigger issues. The retrospective reports occur much less frequently. What's more, the team has returned to using most of their retrospective time for continuous process and methods improvement.

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