It is time to assess the XML Notepad project, considering what we would do again next time and what we would do differently.
We can do many things to learn our craft. We can go to school, read books, take courses, talk with people, and so on. All of these can give us ideas and techniques that can improve our programming. However, the most important thing of all, in my opinion, is reflective practice. We have to use the techniques we read about, and we have to reflect on the results. In the course of this book, we have reflected frequently on how things are going and we have even tried things different ways and thought about that. Now let s look back at the whole XML Notepad project to see what we might have learned.
There are many good ways to reflect. For best results with a project team, I would recommend that you take a look at Norman L. Kerth s landmark book, Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews (Dorset House, 2001). Norm begins and ends with what he calls the Prime Directive:
Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities , the resources available, and the situation at hand.
It can be very difficult to do a retrospective for a project and keep the prime directive in mind. For best results on important projects, you may find it best to use an experienced retrospective facilitator. Here, we ll just do our best.