Retrospectives (or retros for short), are a simple and powerful framework for reviewing a recent project, sprint or other piece of work (including incident response).
Commonly used in agile methodologies for software development cycle reviews, they are equally powerful in other realms, wherever a team wishes to improve their throughput and how they work together.
If held on a fairly regular basis (say monthly), this meeting ought to be short and sharp, but may warrant a longer session for larger pieces of work, or bigger teams.
Essentially, this meeting should provide a safe space for people to reflect on how the team went about completing the work — both the good and the bad — with a view to improving things going forward.
This should not just open the gates to personal attacks though — participants should be should be constructive in their criticism, and lavish in their praise to promote a healthy, open environment.
For Meetric users, we recommend using this template as follows:
- Copy the template into your meeting notes in Meetric against your retro
- Share the link in the meeting event (if your team is all on Meetric, they will already have access).
- When the meeting starts, use the Meetric timer to give guests five minutes to list out all the things that worked well (agenda point 1), and all the things that didn't work well (agenda point) — and at any point, adding questions they feel remain unanswered (agenda point 4). This time can be split into two distinct time periods if preferred. Get team members to add their points under the respective headings (which they can collaborate on at the same time). Pro-tip: put on some fun thinking music!
- Have a discussion about each point, one-by-one, allowing the individual to share additional context.
- As you go, as a team, add actions under agenda item 'What will we do differently next time?' and nominate an owner to make sure there is accountability. Pro-tip: add a due date so that a reminder gets sent!
- Save five minutes at the end (using that Meetric timer again!), to address any outstanding questions under the last agenda point. Be sure to capture the answers to these questions as notes so you can easily refer back to it in future.
- At the end of the meeting, send a recap to make sure everyone has a record.
- Next time you retro, keep an eye out for issues that keep resurfacing — glance below at notes from previous retros, using the Time Machine.