One in a series of posts intended to provide retro techniques to facilitators by way naming a flavor* and then describing tricks or insights to help tackle that flavor.
* flavor – an often implicit vibe, emotion, or general attitude of a team that can inhibit fruitful conversation.
I recently had a delightful opportunity come my way: design a retrospective to help the “Left Brains” and the “Right Brains” on a team figure out why they were having so much trouble communicating effectively.
The problem had emerged as feelings of frustration by both “sides” over the course of several development iterations that were part of a new release. And the more standard retro’s in my toolbox (http://andycleff.com/2014/08/retrospective-exercises-a-toolbox/) were just not producing action items that helped the team improve their situation.
The left brain thinkers continued to be their verbal and analytical selves. And if you hadn’t already guessed it, this group was the platform developers, the engineers. The folks writing the code. Their approach was to process information in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at the pieces, then putting them together to get the whole.
The reciprocal part of the team was the graphic UI designers / UX folks – the right brainers – who relied on visual, nonverbal and intuitive cues, using pictures rather than words. They also generally looked at the whole picture first then the details.
So the goals of the retro:
- Help the “two sides” grok how the other side “thinks”
- Make the root causes for their current impediments and frustrations more visible
- Lay the groundwork for building more empathy