How To Improve With Retrospectives

Purpose of the retrospective meeting: Gain insights into issues you might have with your work process or team and improve it. Retrospectives are usually hard to conduct remotely. However, if you keep to the script suggested here, conducting a beneficial retrospective will surely work. 

Five Easy Steps To Improve Your Team with Retrospectives

  1. Set the stage: show an anecdotic excerpt of a movie or quote that has some connections with the things you’ll be discussing in the Retrospective.
  2. Gather data on your current work process. You can do this by using the Starfish Technique. Ask the Question “What should we STOP doing, do LESS, do MORE, KEEP, or START? Each person can do it on their own silently in a shared document.
  3. Generate insights. Simply go around and let people ask questions about the comments that the team members inserted into the Starfish Diagram. After this third step, everybody should understand what’s in the diagram.
  4. Decide what to do. Now that you’ve gathered data, clarified that data and understand each others point of view, it’s time to decide two things: Which of the issues stated should be tackled? And with what measures should those issues be tackled? It’s best to record around one to three things. And make sure, someone is in charge of overseeing those items.
  5. Close the retrospective. Make sure everybody understands what the key action items are that you will be working on as a team until the next Retrospective Meeting.

The Retrospective Meetings come with many names and in various other formats. However, we feel that above method leads to the best outcomes over time. This is, however, if you work in a safe environment where you know it’s safe for you to speaking your mind.

The Retrospectives are also called reflection or deliberative capacity meetings and basically do all the things as described in the five steps above.

Ideas for Retrospectives

To get ideas what to do in retrospectives, have a look at e.g. TastyCupCakes or for fully fledged retrospective ideas go to Retromat.

Go-To Tools for Remote Retrospectives

There are tons of tools out there to use. Use whatever you feel comfortable with. A tool you trust and where everybody can edit and see the edits simultaneously. This could be a Google Docs or Presentation or Microsoft Teams space. However, I do feel one tool recommendation is in order: using Miro was such a revelation. The ready-made templates for remote retrospectives are simply fantastic!

Photo by Jungwoo Hong