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Hola <<Your Given Name>>!

"Our retrospectives are huge complain-fests. All the team ever does is blame others and whine, whine, whine. Honestly, I don't know what to do..."

This seems to be a common situation in newly agile teams judging from how often I have heard descriptions like that: The team eternally blames external parties. Naturally, they never come up with any action items. Why would they when it's all somebody else's fault anyway...

Blaming others is a convenient way to avoid taking responsibility and changing oneself. So how do you get a team out of this attitude? I describe several tactics in the ebook "Retromat – Run great agile retrospectives" and wanted to share them with you, too:

“What are you going to do about it?”

I start by stressing “you” a lot, as in “What are _you_ going to do about it?”

Here are activities supporting this angle:
Circles & Soup
Outside In

Solution focus

Surprisingly you can also try a very positive angle: Talking about what the team did well sometimes opens up a window to also talk about what didn’t work out, e.g. with an Appreciative Inquiry.

In general, I’m a fan of the solution-focused approach, where you avoid analyzing the problem and look for things to try out instead. These activities fit this approach:
Appreciative Goal
Positive & True
Appreciation Postcards
Remember the Future
Wish granted
AHA!
Shower of Appreciation
Appreciations
My Team is Awesome

Change perspective

A change of perspective can help the team to empathize with their scape goat and see things in a new light. It can also do wonders if the scape goat attends the retrospective and shares their view and reasoning. Try:
Undercover Boss
If I were you

If all else fails I try an intervention along the lines of “We can’t change other people. We can only change our own perspective and behavior.”

Have you ever tried one of these with a finger-pointing team? How did it turn out?

Take care,
Corinna

Take care,

Corinna

PS: Can you think of fellow retrospective enthusiasts who would benefit from this email? You're welcome to forward it :) If they want more stuff like it, they can subscribe here.
Copyright © 2017 Corinna Baldauf - Finding-Marbles.com, All rights reserved.


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