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Given a case where an organization has both dozens of scrum teams and a global Change Management program, does it make sense to feed information available through the Scrum Retrospectives to the Change Management process?

In terms, if there are external impediments which are outside of scrum team power to work around meaningfully, Change Management ["a program dedicated to managing organisational change and supporting staff to deal with changes in the business"] could help, right?

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    Can you elaborate on Change Management? Do you mean a program dedicated to managing organisational change and supporting staff to deal with changes in the business? Or, do you mean a team that manage IT changes and ensure they are de-risked and annotated so that the business does not have an outage caused by a deployment? – Venture2099 May 2 '18 at 13:08
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    Wow..this got answered fast. Less than 4 hours to having an answer nominated as correct. – Venture2099 May 2 '18 at 13:10
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  1. As Barnaby Golden has stated, it is not a good idea to share the content of a retro. It is very important for teams to know that the retro is a "safe place". What happens there, stays there - unless the team wants you to volunteer information about. But I wouldn't push them.
    Also note that not all teams are talking about impediments during their retros. Most teams I've worked with are talking about a) how they felt during certain situations and b) how to reach technical excellence. But the impediments are (also) talked about during the daily stand-ups. And it's the Scrum Master's job to solve those impediments. So...
  2. Change Management could definitely help. You could cut through red tape and arrange a short line of communication between Scrum Masters and CM. So impediments can be turned into change requests without generating additional overhead. And this helps all persons involved.
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    I agree that sharing content and details from any retrospective will harm the safety of the meeting, therefore threatening the productivness of it. One way it would be possible to "cut through red tape" may be to facilitate the retrospective into creating "actionable items" that will include feeding inputs to the CM system and, maybe, creating a globally recognized policy to review those input in a CSI loop – ChaSIem May 16 '18 at 8:59
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Retrospectives are a meeting for the Scrum Team and are internally focused.

Sharing information from a retrospective with a wider audience has to be done very carefully. A couple of reasons for this are:

  • People will tend to speak less freely if they know information is going to be shared outside of the retrospective meeting
  • People outside of the Scrum Team will not have the context that is needed to properly understand comments made in a retrospective

One approach I have used as a Scrum Master is to ask the team if they want a particular retrospective topic to be shared more widely. If the team thinks there is value in sharing a topic and has no concerns over misinterpretation, then I will go ahead and produce a retrospective report.

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This sounds like a very promising partnership to me, if it is handled well.

One useful framework for discussing impediments during a retro is to place them in three concentric circles:

  • innermost = "things we (the team) can control"
  • middle = "things we can influence"
  • outermost = "things we cannot control or influence"

Items in the outer circle, and perhaps in the middle one, would be candidates for passing on to Change Management, with and only with the full and explicit consent of the team.

After placing items in this framework for the first time, I might introduce this idea to my team in this way:

You know, we have an office of Change Management here, which might be able to take action on some of these items we can't control.

  • How would you all feel about that? (discussion)
  • What concerns do you have about taking this action? (discussion)

I suggest we pick one or more items to forward on, and agree on the wording to describe them. Then I'll forward it in an email that says "Our team has identified the following item(s) that are affecting our ability to delivery quality work. If these issues could be addressed, it would be helpful." (modified to address the concerns & incorporate elements raised during discussion)

Is everybody on board with this? Let's do a fist or five.

I expect that many teams would be open to, or even excited about, being able to raise "items we can't control or influence" to some external group that might be able to do something about them. I might start conservatively, by picking only one item to submit at first, and seeing how that played out before submitting anything else.

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Definitely, however, this should be at the discretion of the team.

Generally, in retrospectives, you are trying to create a bunch of actions which the team can complete during the sprint. However, if you tell the team, the Change Management team is at their disposal to help, you can potentially create actions for the team and also actions which the team thinks Change Management can help with.

Another approach is to create a bunch of actions and then tell the team that some of these actions can be sorted with help from Change Management, are they happy to share the output of the retrospective with them or not?

So to summerise: take it to the team ;)

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