The Importance Of Retrospectives Meetings

Author:
Gissell Gonzalez
Gissell Gonzalez

Category

Blog

What are retrospectives and why are they important?

If you know SCRUM you will be familiar with the retrospective meeting that takes place at the end of each sprint. But here I will explain why retrospectives are important in projects, whether they are agile or not.

What is the purpose of the retrospective meeting?

It’s an instance of reflection and pause where the whole team meets to analyze and discuss what has worked and what needs to be improved. It’s a moment of constructive criticism towards improvement and continuous learning.

How to conduct this meeting?

Make a plan, find a relaxed and safe environment, choose the appropriate day and time for all participants.

You can use a support tool, in my case I use Funretro especially if the meeting must be carried out remotely, but post-it notes also work for face-to-face meetings.

Usually 3 questions must be answered:

  • what worked well
  • what didn’t went well
  • what we can change and / or do differently to improve

It’s important to make decisions, the team as a whole chooses for example 3 actions to be applied immediately at work. These actions can be the starting point for the next retrospective.

What to expect from retrospective

  • Each member expresses and listens to different opinions and points of view
  • The team as a whole identifies causes of problems
  • The team can choose some actions to apply immediately and test

Feedback, a plus to retrospectives

For some time now, we have added giving and receiving cross-feedback to retrospective meetings, this is very important since it involves a deeper level of integration and communication, and it definitely has been extremely enriching for the entire team.

Receiving feedback and giving feedback is not easy, we tend to keep opinions about what we observe of the other person and the question always arises, how do I tell the other person what I think without making him feel bad, what is the best way to say what I think to that person?

I understand that at first this may cost a bit, but I encourage you to lose your fear, the team has to know what is doing well and not so well and in general people want to hear your suggestions to improve, however, you have to know how to use the right words. It must be done in the right way and with the right intentions.

How to close your retrospective meeting.

  • The meeting recap. Be sure to write down or export all of the various items. Share this with the team.
  • The action items. The key to any good retrospective is having good action items. Make sure everyone agrees.
  • Thank for the feedback received it.
  • The follow ups, the goal isn’t to just have the meeting.  The key it’s to communicate, identify opportunities for improvement, and then actually put action behind those opportunities.
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