Feedback is very important in tuning software development, but it's also needed in tuning the software development process. It comes in two major forms, introspection and retrospectives. Both involve looking back at what you've done, what went right, what could be improved, but introspection is solo and retrospectives involve the team.
In the "old days," a retrospective was called a project "post mortem," done after the project was finished and the team was about to disperse. A bit late to use the lessons learned in it, don't you think?
From experience and the literature I've read, post mortems are frequently skipped, especially on failed projects. And failed projects may have the most to teach us.
Wisdom comes from Experience. Experience comes from making mistakes.
Singing the Songs of Project Experience: Patterns and Retrospectives by Linda Rising and Esther Derby from Cutter IT Journal (PDF)
Retrospective Agility by Tim Mackinnon in Objective View (PDF)
http://www.retrospectives.com/ Norm Kerth's website.
- Esther Derby's
- Rachel Davies'
Marco Abis' Retrospectives IN and ON action
Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen (0977616649)
Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews by Norman L. Kerth (0932633447)
Ellen Gottesdiener's Team Retrospectives — for better iterative assessment looks at the topic from a RUP perspective.
Bill Wake's Some Patterns for Iteration Retrospectives
James Carr's Retrospective Patterns