Stop Running Bad Retros

As an early adopter of Agile, I’ve found and still find, retrospectives to be among the most energizing and valuable meetings I attend. They enable whole teams to reflect upon the past in a blame-free, constructive way. And when facilitated well, lead to a small set of fruitful action items that have the power to catapult teams to increased productivity moving forward.

Unfortunately, retrospectives are often not run well, because facilitators often fail to adequately prepare.

But, retrospectives are not something you can just show up to and wing. They deserve up front thought and planning. So, I’ve distilled down the most valuable takeaways from all my years running and attending retrospectives.

(Note to reader — This is part of a bigger ebook that’s free — I didn’t want to write the entire thing on Medium, so here’s a snippet below, feel free to download the full ebook here. Thanks!)

Part 1: Prepare

As facilitator, it’s your responsibility to be prepared for the meeting. Don’t ever go into a retrospective and ‘wing it’. Your and your team’s time is too valuable for that. Give yourself 4–8 hours to prepare for a 2 hour retrospective if it’s your first time facilitating one. This might seem like a lot of time, but it’s an investment you’ll be proud you made.

Step 1: Agree On What You Are Retrospecting

Step 2: Choose Attendees

Read about the details of Step 1 and 2, as well as 40 additional pages of tips and secrets on running great retros in the ebook.