Bearing in mind that there are many factors of which I am unaware.

Last week I was corresponding with Esther Derby on the use of the Prime Directive in retrospectives, and how some people express difficulty in accepting it. She followed up that discussion with an excellent post on the topic, where she lists many reasons why someone may be doing their best under the circumstances, though not doing their peak work. When I saw that, I shelved the article I’d been writing on the topic. It’s remained on my mind, however, and I still have a bit to say about it.

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.

— Norm Kerth, Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews