The retro is dead. Long live the retro!

Week 68-70 Retrospective

Habits are fickle things.

I was vacationing in Namibia for most the last two weeks, and as a result it’s now been three weeks since I’ve written a retro.

But when I opened up my editor to write this today—in this exact moment actually—I’m sitting here thinking why do I do this? Now that the habit has been interrupted, my motivation to keep writing retros—partially to keep the streak alive—has seriously diminished.

This is especially true at this particular moment, where I find myself playing catch up from vacation while also simultaneously planning a three week trip to the states where I’ll again be heads down and have little time for proactive work.

This is the only week in the surrounding six that I actually have any substantial control over how I spend my time, but I’m probably mostly going to use it to catch up.

So my retros for the next few weeks will look something like this:

  • July 30: I caught up from vacation and now I’m busy again
  • August 6: Still busy
  • August 13: Still busy
  • August 20: Was busy last week and just catching my breath
  • August 27: Maybe I can actually strategize this week?

And looking at that, with a now-broken weekly streak, I can’t really see any justification for why I would bother writing that up.

The case for retrospectives

That said, I still believe there is value into this process.

One of the most important takeaways I had from my sabbatical was that being too busy for high-level thinking is one of the greatest productivity fallacies you can have. Sprinting in the wrong direction is one of the least productive ways you can spend your time—and it’s very easy to do it if you’re not careful!

My retrospectives have always been a forcing function for me to check in with myself each week and ask the question: am I still spending my time on the things that I think are good and important? Without creating the space for this question it’s easy to lose months or years to work that doesn’t actually matter.

So, I’m not going to stop doing retrospectives.

But I might put them on pause.

Because the fact of the matter is, for the next 3-4 weeks I basically don’t control my time. I’ll be sprinting on a new project for two weeks, then sprinting for Dimagi for a week.

And while I do want to carefully consider how I spend my time in general, I’ve already gone through the process of making that call for the coming three weeks, and nothing I can say or do now will have any impact on that.

When, I get back from my trip I’ll have to decide what a new cadence for this process should be. Thankfully, I’ve got some time to mull that over.


Pictures from Namibia! What a place.

A post shared by Cory Zue (@czue13) on

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