Sunday, September 7, 2008

Retrospective / Post Mortem Analysis

A key element of agile development is to periodically, or at the end of the project, review progress in retrospective and adapt accordingly. This is known by many names:

  • Retrospective

  • Post Mortem Analysis (PMA)

  • Lessons learned

  • De-briefing

  • Post project review

  • Blame and flames

  • Post Partum

Irrespective of what you call it, you have got to discuss certain aspects of the project for the review to have significant value. Reflecting on the original development schedule and the timeline according to which the project was delivered, you can identify estimation errors & design defects that you can try to improve on for other similar projects. You can get feedback on the software processes in place; the effect of the processes should be measurable Eg. defects/KLOC (avg. no. of defects for 1,000 lines of code). Early warning signs for problems can be identified if the project did run into rough seas at some point. This analysis would also evaluate the effectiveness of design reviews, code reviews and Q.A. processes.

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