19 Tips for retrospective success

10 min. read

1.Use timed discussions to ensure that the team is focused on the topic at hand. If you only allot 5 minutes to a topic, you’re more likely to stay on on task.

2.Create a space that feels safe for your team introverts. Introverts have plenty of great ideas, but don’t always feel comfortable sharing themin a traditional meeting environment. Using techniques like private brainstorming, silent grouping, and anonymity will allow everyone on the team to feel involved.

3.Invest in team bonding. These connections will go a long way when developing trust and communication during your retrospectives

.4.Make your retrospectives routine, so that your team is always thinking within the mindset of continuous improvement.

5.For distributed teams, there should be one uniform medium for communication. Allow your team to self organize and decide upon video oraudio calls.

6.Make a list of action items but don’t leave it to gather digital dust. Regularly review and take steps to complete these plans.

7.Make it okay to take risks and fail! To do this, try creating an Oops Wall in which you publicly place the mistakes you make during the week. Watch as others do the same and trust on your team increases.

8.Remember that retrospectives aren’t limited to agile and scrum teams, or even to software and IT! Any type of team can benefit from regular retrospectives.

9.Make sure everyone on the team is on the same page about the retro. Be sure to articulate action items through face-to-face communication, recap emails, or writing on a large visible space.

10.Make an effort to make eye contact with each team member, regardless of their participation. Eye contact will encourage your team members to feel included and encouraged to participate.

11.Establish a psychologically safe environment by explaining before every retrospective that all opinions are welcome, and what happens in this room, stays in this room. But with that said…

12….at the end of the retro, ask the team, “Out of everything we just discussed, what (if anything) do we want to share publicly with the rest of the organization? What do we need help on from someone outside the team?”

13.Change where you retrospect. Try going outside or to a coffee shop or park. Sometimes new spaces will help open your team’s mind.

14.Use effective facilitation exercises such as Lean Coffee, Mad Sad Glad, and Start Stop Continue.

15.Use dot voting to prioritize the discussion topics in the retro. The #1 reason people aren’t engaged during retrospectives is because the topic being discussed isn’t relevant!

16.Verbalize how the focus of the retrospective connects back to the overall objective and values.

17.Follow through on your retrospective action items.

18.Don’t forget to Set The Stage at the beginning of the retrospective. Research shows that if someone speaks up once in the beginning of a meeting, they are more likely to speak up again!

19.Verbalize appreciation for your team, whether it be their tasks or their collaborative spirit.

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