Running a good retro


Make the most of TeleRetro to create an engaging retrospective

Retrospectives have long been an important part of team work, helping teams to reflect on the successes and failures of the past.

Running an engaging and impactful retrospective session is a fun and highly rewarding experience, and in this article we'll outline some suggestions for making the most of your time.

With TeleRetro, we are taking the retrospective experience to the next level by introducing a number of unique and engaging features that have been specifically designed to create an enjoyable team atmosphere. From the ability to spice up the meeting with animated gifs, fun music icebreakers and new retro formats, we want to make the retrospective experience something to enjoy and look forward to, while also helping teams to move forward faster through unlocking greater insights, ideas and alignment.

1. Meet and greet

Once your retro board has been created, and you have your team assembled online or in person, greet your team and thank them for their time. Take the chance to clarify the purpose of the meeting, and how the process will work so that everyone understands why the retrospective is important and what you are aiming to accomplish.

  • Gifs (Retro › Giphy button)

    In the bottom left of the Retro board you'll find a plus button where you can search for and share gifs. These help to break the ice and get your team engaged and relaxed. Gifs can be shared throughout a retro (or disabled by the Facilitator), and are one of our most popular features. Gifs are ephemeral and only last on screen for a few moments as they pass across the screen.

2. Set the context

Before zooming-in on project details, take a step back and spend a few moments reviewing the broader project context with your team – this might include the project roadmap, any client feedback, burn down chart, actions from the previous sprint, etc. This context will help your team make useful contributions during the retro.

💡 Suggestions:

  • Mood Poll (Retro › Mood › Start Mood Poll)

    Before you start collecting feedback, start a Mood Poll to gather data about how your team is feeling. This information will be automatically tracked for you in your Dashboard, so that your can monitor any changes to your team's mood over time. When your organization has multiple teams this can help to identify which teams may require support.

3. Generate insights

At this point, it's time to open up the retro to all by asking your team to think back and share their thoughts about what went well, what did not, and what could be improved. It often works best to collect thoughts in all columns at once. See collecting feedback for more suggestions.

Suggestions:

  • 💡 Timer (Retro › Timer › Start Timer)

    Keep your meeting on time by setting a timer for between between 5-10 minutes or more depending on the size of your team and how much there is to discuss. Be open to allowing more time after the time has expired in case your team has more they wish to add.

  • Icebreaker Music (Retro › Icebreaker › Music › Start Broadcast)

    Play background music while people write up their feedback. This is sure to be fun and get your team talking – people may wish to contribute music suggestions for your session or for future sessions.

  • Brainstorming (Retro › Brainstorming › Start Brainstorming)

    Not for all teams – but consider Brainstorming mode in case you'd like participants not to be able to see other people's notes until after all contributions have been made. This can be useful to generate a greater diversity of original points. On the other hand, allowing participants to see other contributions as they are being made can be a source of inspiration for new ideas, so decide what you feel is best for your team.

5. Prioritise

Once your team have finished contributing their thoughts, ask everyone to group related notes together, followed by voting for which points concern them most. After this step, you will have a clear view of which points are the most important to your team.

💡 Suggestions:

  • Grouping (Retro › Drag one note onto another)

    Before starting the vote, ask your team to merge related tickets with each other. This will help important topics get surfaced to the top, by avoiding votes for the same topic being spread across multiple notes.

  • Vote (Retro › Voting › Start Voting)

    Start a voting session and let your team cast their votes. You will see a notification in the top of the screen how many people have finished casting their votes. Once enough people have finished voting the Facilitator can then close the voting session via Retro › Voting › Start Voting.

  • Sorting (Retro › Sorting › Sort by Votes)

    Sort your votes to help prioritise which topics should be discussed most.

6. Discuss and create actions

With your notes sorted in priority order, walk through each note discussing with your team what the issue or suggestion was, inviting the person who raised the matter to reflect on why they wanted to raise the issue. For any notes requiring action, be sure to log the action, ensuring to assign to an appropriate owner Action items should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

💡 Suggestions:

  • Create action from card (Retro › Card › Hover menu › Add to Actions)

    If you would like to create an action directly out of a card, you can save yourself from retyping it by selecting 'add to actions'.

  • Export actions (Dashboard › Integrations)

    Use our integrations to export actions automatically into Jira, Teams, Notion or wherever your team tracks action items. See Integrations.

  • Assign action (Retro › Action › Change assignee)

    Ensure tasks are completed efficiently and effectively by assigning actions to your team members.

7. Conclude the retro

Once you have finished, do a quick recap of the insights and actions created, ensuring everyone is clear on what needs to be done by when. Thank everyone for their time!

💡 Suggestions:

  • Review Summary (Retro › Sharing › Share Summary)

    Share a Summary of your retro on the screen for all participants. The Summary shows the results of your Mood Poll, top feedback and actions raised.

8. Share the results

Share the results of your retrospective with relevant stakeholders to increase visibility of your team's progress and concerns.

Conclusion

Retrospectives are a critical mechanism to generate insights, surface issues and improve alignment within your team and across your company.

To make them more enjoyable and effective, teams can add interactive elements such as animated gifs, music icebreakers and customized formats. By tracking actions, teams can ensure that positive changes made, and see the result of these improvements over time.

A successful retrospective not only helps your team find solutions for existing problems; it also brings the team together, creating trust, resilience, and innovation, which are vital for your organization to flourish.

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