Picture of author.
5 Works 360 Members 8 Reviews

About the Author

Esther Derby draws on four decades of leading, observing, and living through organizational change, combining a deep knowledge of complex adaptive systems with an attention to people. She is the founder of esther derby associates, inc., working with a broad array of clients from Fortune 500 show more companies to start-ups. She also teaches workshops around the world, supporting leaders to amplify empowerment, engage their organizations in joint problem solving, and evolve their systems toward better results. show less

Includes the name: E Derby

Works by Esther Derby


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Derby, Esther



This is a good overview of retrospective reviews. It is directed more at someone trying to bootstrap an agile process or fix a broken one. But it can also be useful for someone looking for fresh ingredients to add to a more established situation. The suggested team exercises sometimes come across as a bit more touchy-feely than I (or my team) are comfortable with. And the cheerful tone got a bit tiresome.

On the other hand, all that is exactly what I expected in a book like this. I was able to easily scan through it in an evening, culling the applicable ideas. Now it's just a matter of determining when I can add them into the mix.… (more)
zot79 | 6 other reviews | Aug 20, 2023 |
Esther's writing is always clear, relevant, and wise. I whipped through this in the course of an afternoon, and look forward to revisiting it in the future.
RJ_Stevenson | Aug 19, 2020 |
Techniques called “agile” comprise a more iterative approach to developing software. In many ways, it treats software as an open text instead of a fixed product. Agile development is used in most leading software shops around the world. This book treats a specific element of agile development – the retrospective. After each iteration or release, the team is gathered to discuss the last period of time and to seek improvement for the next time.

This approach is immensely helpful. It not only allows everyone to contribute to the group dynamics of software development, but it also provides a progressive framework so that knowledge is not lost. Software development is an especially quirky and peculiar area of life that is-like-but-is-not-like so many other disciplines (e.g., management, business, manufacturing, mathematics, arts, etc.). It is nice to have a book dedicated to this topic.

This book provides examples of exercises to perform with the team. For example, a timeline of the project might be charted to facilitate what happened in the last release. Or a matrix can be charted to share different insights about the last iteration. These exercises comprise the heart and the value of the book.

This book recommends performing an eight-hour retrospective after each release or after each iteration. I frankly could not imagine slowing down this frequently or for this long. Perhaps a one-hour focused retrospective (with one or two exercises) might be more helpful. Then again, I work with smaller teams that are continually having conversations such as these amongst themselves.

Overall, this book provides exercises that are helpful to draw out conversation among all those involved in software development. I’ll use it as a references as I lead conversations about software.

… (more)
scottjpearson | 6 other reviews | Jan 25, 2020 |
Agile retrospectives are a great way to continuously improve your way of working. Getting actions out of a retrospective that are doable, and getting them done helps teams to learn and improve. This book helped me to develop and improve the way I do retrospectives, and to do agile retrospectives that are delivering value to the business.

This book can help you to improve the way you do retrospectives with Agile / Scrum. A lot of practical information on how to organize an run retrospectives, and to follow up on the actions. Must read if you want to continuously improve the way you develop software.… (more)
BenLinders | 6 other reviews | Jul 30, 2017 |


You May Also Like

Associated Authors



Charts & Graphs