The retrospective is arguably the event that will yield the most benefits for your agile team. This is because it is the place where you identify crucial, valuable improvements for your team that will drive ongoing performance improvements. Such improvements allow your team to deliver higher value products in a shorter timescale.
Author: Joel McCune, Lean Agile 24 Value Stream Consulting & Agile SAAS, https://leanagile24.com/
Facilitating retrospectives is a real art. One of the keys to facilitating great retrospectives is ensuring you have a suitable tool to support you. More importantly, the best tools provide a way to ensure the team follows up on the actions that are going to yield benefits. In this article, we are going to explain why we believe RetroCadence is the best retrospective tool for agile teams.
RetroCadence is a retro tool that has been built by experienced agile coaches and scrum masters who needed a way to manage the retrospective process without having to resort to a manually customized whiteboard solution. For this reason, we believe RetroCadence to be the best solution on the market. Read on to find out more…
Our retrospective tool is Easily Shared
Some retro tools require team members to go through a lengthy registration process, or alternatively require organizations to set up single sign-on integration with the organization’s identity management system. Both such processes can provide a level of resistance which can cause delays (whilst people remember or reset their passwords) or rejection of the solution (when organizations choose not to integrate new web based solutions).
RetroCadence is different.
RetroCadence allows a board to easily be shared with the team by use of a private URL, allowing team members to easily add their thoughts to an ongoing retrospective with one click of the mouse.
This means that facilitators can spend more time focussing on driving improvements within their teams and facilitating retrospectives, rather than administering a user list in a retro tool. It also means that it’s very easy to spin up an ad-hoc retro board at a moments notice. This allows you to do a lessons learned or “post mortem” on an initiative that went well, or not so well, and involve members of the wider organization who might not normally have access to a retro tool.
Our retrospective tool is Team Focused
At RetroCadence, we know that your organization is likely to have multiple agile teams and that you may personally support and facilitate meetings across many of them. As a result we have designed our tool to be focussed on grouping retrospectives into team categorisations to allow you to easily administer your separate teams and avoid unnecessarily sharing retro feedback between teams.
Our retrospective tool has Action Item Tracking
The key purpose of a retrospective is to drive improvement for your team and organization, but it can be far too easy to let a retrospective turn into a general discussion without pushing to resolve the underlying problem.
That’s why RetroCadence makes it easy to mark a submitted comment as an action item, and then once marked, allow an easy method for tracking your action items, including when they were raised and which team they are assigned to, in order to ensure that they get completed. This makes sure that these valuable improvement ideas get implemented within your organization so that you can start confirming their validity and reaping the benefits.
Our retrospective tool has Retro Templates
If your retrospectives are feeling a little stale, now might be a good time to start switching it up a bit by trialing different retrospective formats. RetroCadence has over 10 different templates to allow you and your team to start experimenting with different ways of gathering feedback.
Don’t see a template you like? No problem. RetroCadence allows you to create custom retro templates, allowing you to experiment with new and tailored formats to find out which method is best for you. Why not ask your team to nominate a new format every meeting?
Our retrospective tool is Secure
We know that your I.T. security team are likely to have very exacting requirements for the standards that the tools you use should have. For that reason, we have ensured that we offer single sign on integration with both Microsoft and Google, as well as enforcing end to end encryption on our website traffic.
All of our data centers are located within the USA, meaning we don’t store your data in any jurisdictions that might not meet your exacting security standards and our development team is 100% based in the USA with no offshoring.
Our retrospective tool is Free
There are lots of tools on the market for retrospectives, but here at Lean-Agile 24 we don’t think there needs to be a charge to use such tools, that’s why we’ve decided to make our tool free to use forever.
Our goal is to help organizations spend less time on tool configuration and more time on value-add activities. If you like the tool, maybe you would like our solutions for program objectives, risk management, roadmaps, value streams, objectives and key results (OKR’s) and more.
How to facilitate a retrospective?
So you’ve got a great tool, but how do you facilitate a successful retrospective?
- Ensure the attendee list is correct. Retrospectives work best when they are safe spaces with a limited audience restricted to the immediate team. More senior members of staff in a retro may cause junior employees to go silent.
- Set the scene of the retrospective and ask all participants to say what they want to get from the session. Once everyone has spoken in a meeting they are much more likely to contribute to that meeting again. You could use this time to get the team to select a format for the retrospective.
- Make sure you keep to the meeting timebox. For a one-month sprint this can be up to 3 hours, but for 2 week sprints an hour is usually sufficient.
- Invite participants to add their thoughts to the board in accordance with the selected format. Some retro boards are left open continuously between meetings, so that team members can add their thoughts
- Once thoughts have been submitted, prompt the team to select the 2 or 3 highest value improvements to focus on for the next sprint. If the other items are important, they will be raised at later retrospectives and can be addressed then
- Commit to implementing the improvement points and determine a way to track them
Get started with these Retrospective formats
- Liked, Learned, Lacked, Kudos
- Liked, Learned, Lacked, Longed For
- More, Less, Frustrating, Enjoyable
- Less of, More Of, Actions
- Keep, Drop, Start
- Went well, needs improvement, actions, kudos
Keep in mind these Retrospective guidelines
- Remember the Retrospective prime directive of: “Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand”.
- Keep the audience to the team only
- Make sure everyone speaks at the beginning
- Limit the number of improvements to be worked on at any one time
- Agree a meaningful way to ensure the actions are completed.
Why not try RetroCadence out for your next retro? It’s a great way to help with your facilitation of the session, is secure, flexible, easy to use and will be free forever. Remember our guidelines and facilitation tips and ensure that your actions are tracked and accountability is assigned for each one. If you follow these tips you will see meaningful and valuable improvements start to occur within your teams.