Choosing the right format will bring your team from an A- to an A+

There’s always room for improvement.

I tell my teams that a lot, and I repeat it often to myself as a reminder. When your team finally gets into a good groove — tasks are rapidly changing hands, blockers are few, and morale is high — it’s easy to want to take a breath and relax. In situations like these, though, you need to be your team’s coach. Don’t let your team get complacent! Always search for something to make your team even better.

Retrospectives are a great place to dive in deep and find those things to improve. Here are three retrospective formats that incite deeper thinking about the things that aren’t exactly problematic but, if improved, could make the team’s productivity soar. …

Using the same old retrospective format is holding your team back.

It’s the same old song and dance. At the end of the sprint, everyone gathers together, mulls over their sprint, and then puts their thoughts into a document with three headers: “Start,” “Stop,” and “Continue.” After the team reviews all their feedback, they pick a few things as action items and the cycle repeats.

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Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Most of these teams say they’re content with their retrospectives. “Everybody contributes, and we always come up with something to improve,” they’ll say. And I’m not saying that isn’t true! But in the spirit of helping your team become the best they can be, you’re not doing anyone a favor by keeping things vanilla. Why? Because changing up your retrospective format will make your team think creatively about your sprint.


Olivia Adams Lead Developer at athenahealth, Inc. Wife, mother of one, choir nerd.

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