Photo by Mark KaletkaSimple ideas can be powerful. Last week Niels Malotaux introduced me to the “prespective”—the idea that instead of waiting to the end of an iteration to look back on what slowed you down, you do so at the beginning. You ask yourselves: “What is going to slow us down this iteration/today, and how will we stop it before it even happens?”

I like the idea of the prespective. It’s giving people a chance to act ahead of time—to be explicit about having some control over their future, and not become a victim to it. It forces people to think about potential problems (such as interruptions), and therefore to have an immediate strategy when they arise.

I suspect it’s particularly powerful for looking ahead at the day, rather than the week or iteration. Because then we’re considering simpler things (phone calls, specific meetings, etc) rather than grand things (e.g. architectural problems) and our resulting actions become simpler and more achievable. And then we can still use a retrospective to look back on an entire iteration.

The prespective is definitely an idea I’ll be using in the future to help bring focus to teams. Meanwhile, if you want some other simple but powerful ideas along similar lines, take a look at Niels’s page of mantras.

Photo by Mark Kaletka

5 thoughts on “Prespectives

  1. I’ve recently found myself advocating something similar. My focus though has been to encourage teams during the planning game to think ahead to the showcase. My challenge to teams has been to factor into their thinking and their planning those “other elements”, separate to features, that are required for a successful showcase as a PR event that not only delights the client but essentially secures more investment from the client with which to fund the next sprint.

    The whole showcase experience is largely an unexplored area for creativity.

  2. I like the showcase for securing more funding. And I wonder how much the showcase could replace the traditional project steering board meeting.

  3. That would be my view also. Tolerating project boards that largely rehash information already shared and add no further value is frustrating, especially if all stakeholders are present at showcases.

  4. Nik,
    Prespection is actually part of the weekly TaskCycle planning (
    We imagine the result of what we plan to do the coming week, and if we see that at the end of the week we would decide that it wasn’t right, not important, not necessary, or the like, we still can refrain from doing it, or decide to do it differently. During the planning, peers help each other not to plan such wrong things.
    If at the end of the week we see that something wasn’t done right, or shouldn’t have been done, we are all responsible, because apparently we didn’t help the guy who did it not to do it.

    So, Prespection is not something we may do from time to time. It’s an integral part of the planning cycle.

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