In our team, we make it a priority to schedule a comprehensive retrospective event every six months, where we dedicate at least 3 hours of uninterrupted time to delve into the long-term strategic topics that are critical to our success. This event provides us with an opportunity to discuss any burning issues that we have encountered and to celebrate our accomplishments.
To facilitate this process, we leverage the EasyRetro tool, which enables us to collaborate effectively in an online environment. You might be curious about the key areas that we typically focus on during our retrospectives.
During our retrospectives, we prioritise a comprehensive review of both our team's challenges and successes. It is crucial for us to not only identify areas that require improvement but also recognise our accomplishments and take pride in our successes. In addition, we create a space for individual recognition, where team members have the chance to express gratitude and acknowledge the efforts of their peers for their contributions to the team's achievements. This approach fosters a positive team culture and helps us maintain a growth mindset to continue to evolve and improve.
In summary, our retrospective event focuses on two areas:
To streamline our usage of EasyRetro cards, we have established a system of categorisation that divides them into three distinct groups:
Before the retrospective event begins, we repeat the rules and the actual course of the event. At the same time, everyone needs to be "nudged" to find enough time to prepare. The Slack tool we use (and its unlimited set of emoticons) is great for this.
For the retrospective event itself, the following procedure worked well:
However, we found that doing a three-hour retrospective event in a group of twenty people was not effective. The extended duration of the meeting made it challenging to sustain our focus and engagement throughout the session. We also wanted to think about the issues from a different angle and get a new perspective.
The key for us was to define the goal of our retrospective event, which was to "Review the past performance of the Mobile team and look to the future" or
We also added the basic principles on which we wanted to build the retrospective event
This time, to make the retrospective fun, we gave it a thematic frame: Superheroes. Because we want to bring new innovative ideas to the company and at the same time we know that every true superhero must be humble and know not only his superpowers, but also his weaknesses.
And we wanted to focus on five basic things that characterise every superhero in our retrospective event.
To live up to the principle of "everyone in the game" we divided into teams of 5 to 6 people, where we went through the individual characteristics in detail and then shared the results with each other. The teams were, of course, named after superheroes.
We have set aside 4 hours for the retrospective event, divided into four 60-minute blocks. The discussion in teams always lasted 25 minutes, another 25 minutes were reserved for sharing the outputs together and finally there was a 10-minute break. This went on the whole time. We were able to engage not only team members who were physically on site, but also those who were connecting remotely.
In the end, the change of procedure proved to be successful, but we still have not only pluses, but also minuses, which we have to fine-tune gradually.
For feedback, we sent a questionnaire to the participants, which confirmed that splitting into groups and timeboxing each section was a very good choice for a large group of people. We managed to fully involve all participants.
The amount of time available for the retrospective event which is held once every six months is still insufficient and next time we should reserve a longer time slot. Instead of identifying key topics on which action steps will be defined after the retrospective event, we should devote more effort to defining them during the event itself.