Help Center Meetings

The Retrospective Meeting

The Retrospective Meeting

A retrospective can be used either by a team or any other group of people. The structure and form of this event will try to motivate all participants to contribute and engage.

1. Triggering a retrospective

There are two possible ways to notify members when you want to start a retrospective event:

Option1: Administration pages Click the "+" in the Retrospective card on the Dashboard. This will open a form to select retrospective members or teams. Option2: Through integrations Using Slack, initiative by typing /retrospective slash command in your channel of choice. Using Microsoft Teams, type @Team O'clock retrospective in your team channel. All participants will be personally notified to join by the Team O'clock bot. When you are done triggering a retrospective, a unique URL is created for that meeting and communicated to participants either via email or directly on a chat channel to join the meeting. You now have the option to set up a recurring retrospective meeting to build your team's agile rituals. Read more about scheduling a meeting.

2. Facilitator and participants

When in the retrospective meeting you have one of the two available roles: Facilitator is a single participant responsible for setting up and driving the meeting.

The setup screen for the facilitator showing 4 distinct steps to setup the retrospective meeting from setting Scope & goal, to customizing Activity template, then set Options, and finally Start the retrospective.

The facilitator's avatar is marked with a darker border color to be easily identified.

Participants are the team members contributing to the retrospective.

The waiting screen for participants on a retrospective, showing the list of members joined the meeting and a summary of the previous retrospective action items and notes

The facilitator role can be claimed by any member participating in the meeting during any time, to ensure that the meeting can proceed in cases where the facilitator might be unavailable or offline. As a participant, you can claim facilitation:

  1. In the starting screen use the Claim facilitation button.

  2. Any time during the meeting, the current facilitator is visible in the top right corner, clicking on the facilitator you can choose to Claim facilitation.

View of a contrasting button like area reading 'Mike is the facilitator' with a dropdown below explaining how to claim facilitation and a link to actually claim facilitation of the meeting

3. Facilitator setting up the retrospective

The facilitator can set up the retrospective using the in-page wizard when in setup mode.

The setup screen for the facilitator showing 4 distinct steps to setup the retrospective meeting from setting Scope & goal, to customizing Activity template, then set Options, and finally Start the retrospective.

The first step of the in-page wizard is to set up the Scope and goal of the retrospective. The facilitator can click to expand the first step and type the name and focus of the retrospective.

The scope and goal step of the retrospective with two inputs for editing the name and focus of the retrospective meeting

The second step is to customize the retrospective activity. Expanding this step the facilitator can either:

  • Choose one of the preset activities, by clicking the Choose activity preset option. Navigate the available activities select the one you prefer and click the Apply button to update the retrospective board.

  • Customize the columns by manually setting column names and descriptions. All custom retrospective activities are automatically stored and are available when you click the Choose activity preset option.

The second step of the retrospective setup showing a button reading Choose activity preset followed by 3 interactive cards for columns reading Start, Stop, Continue. At the bottom there is a link to add columns

In the third step of the retrospective, the facilitator can choose whether the meeting notes will display the name of the member who added the note or notes will be anonymous.

In the final step of the retrospective, the facilitator can see a summary of the whole setup and proceed with starting the retrospective.

The final step of the retrospective setup, showing a summary of the retrospective focus message, the selected activity and instructions for the first stage of the retrospective on gathering notes

While the facilitator is setting up the retrospective, members are on a wait screen, where they are reminded of action items and notes of the previous team retrospective.

4. Facilitator starts the retrospective

When all participants have joined the retrospective page and you are done setting up the retrospective you can click the Start retrospective button at the bottom right of the setup wizard.

5. Communication between the team

To coordinate with your remote team members you can use the Chat feature to exchange quick messages, located on the bottom right of the retrospective window. To use a video conference with your remotees, add a Video Call URL from the settings next to the Start button. This input is available to all your team members and anyone can set up the Video Call URL. The Video Call URL is always visible in the pill at the bottom and center of the page.

6. During the retrospective

The layout focuses on the board areas where members are adding their notes. Each board area has a title with a description below so that you can understand what notes should be added to that board.

The retrospective meeting in the gather notes stage where all columns of the activity are visible and positioned vertically next to each other. Each column has a title, description and an option to Add a note to that column.

On the header bar, you will always see the current, previous, and next stages of the retrospective. These stages are the guiding mechanism that Team O'clock offers in order to have a fruitful session. All retrospective stages are:

  • Gather notes, where each participant privately adds notes to the retrospective.

  • Group notes, where all notes are revealed and the team can edit, group, or delete notes, and all unknowns are discussed and clarified.

  • Vote notes, where each participant can vote on the more important notes.

  • Discussion & action items to speak more about each note and conclude with some action items that will help participants move forward as a team.

Facilitator actions during the retrospective

The facilitator has some additional actions during the retrospective meeting. The actions only a facilitator can perform are:

Change stage: to move the retrospective meeting to the next or previous stage. This action is accessible from the header area, where the facilitator can click on the previous and next stages displayed below the centered current stage. This action will affect all participants, moving the meeting to the selected stage.

Set stage timer: to define a timer for the current meeting stage. This option is available on the pill at the bottom center of the screen, and the facilitator can set a stage timer in minutes to nudge participants into wrapping up their notes.

The set timer animation showing the pill at the bottom of the meeting where a drop up expands with a cursor click and is set to 10 minutes. The timer starts counting in the pill and with a second click the dropup shows again and the timer is reset.

To manage a running timer, click on it to view the drop-up with the options and either reset the time or remove the timer altogether. The timer is just a visual hint for the participants to know of the available time and will not automatically proceed to the next stage. The meeting facilitator will need to take that action.

Gather notes stage

This is the starting stage of the retrospective where participants add their notes in private, without being shared with the others to avoid biasing. All participants add their notes in the respecting board area.

Retrospective meeting interface in gather notes stage, 7 notes are added in the three columns of a Start,Stop,Continue activity with 3 of the notes being readable, while the remaining 4 are displaying letters as dots

To add a note in a board area click on the the + Add a note link. To move a note to a different board area click and drag the note to drop it in the column of interest. You can edit a note by hovering on the note and clicking the Edit option that appears on the right side of the note. Use this to change board area for a note. Deleting the whole text will remove that note. When you are done adding your notes you can click the I'm done button on the bottom right corner of your screen. This is the way to notify all participants that you are ready to proceed to the next stage. Participants who have clicked I'm done at any stage are marked with a green dot under their avatar. If you are the facilitator of the retrospective once you hit I'm done you will see a new option saying Next stage. This option can drive the meeting forward to the next stage for all participants. As the facilitator, you can alternatively click on the next stage that is visible on the header, below the current stage.

Group notes stage

In the grouping stage, all notes are revealed and the team can group similar notes, delete duplicates, and discuss or edit the notes that require more clarification.

Part of the group notes stage of the retrospective, two options are visible for Grouping notes with AI-Assist and Order notes per member

As the facilitator navigates the team into the Group notes stage, there are some extra options to assist the team in this stage:

  1. Order notes per member, to assist in a quick scan or share of the added notes per participant

  2. Automatically group of notes, using AI-Assist to check for similar notes and auto-group them. Auto-grouping works in realtime, so you will see notes being grouped and moved around. Read more about AI-Assist

If member names are displayed under each note, you can quickly distinguish your notes as they are marked with a YOU tag.

To easily view all the notes of a specific team member, use the Order notes per member option.

To group notes drag the duplicate/similar note over the note you want to group it by.

An animated image showing two notes under a column, the mouse clicks and drags a note under the other and an indicator of grouping appears

Grouping notes are only allowed in the grouping notes stage. If you are in a following stage and want to change notes grouping, ask the facilitator to navigate back to Group notes.

After this step, everyone should have a clear understanding of the board. Use the Group notes stage to clarify a common understanding across all participants on each note. We strongly suggest that you focus on clarity and avoid debate and discussion over each note before you have voted on the most important items.

Group notes with AI-Assist

The facilitator can use the Group notes with AI-Assist, option to automatically group notes based on the context of each note.

Modal of grouping with AI-Assist, having options for maintaining any manually grouped notes and options for context relevant starting from More loose, to Default, and Similar.

Clicking the button on the center top of the page a modal is visible where the facilitator has options for:

  • Keeping any notes already grouped in case the team has manually grouped some notes already.

  • Setting context relevance instructions for grouping notes. The options available are:

    • More loose, where AI-Assist will match notes based on a broader similarity of context and words.

    • Default, where the matching is based on the most common settings for context and words.

    • Similar, where the match between notes should be almost identical.

AI-Assist is based on a generative AI to make the matching so results may vary. Read more on how AI-Assist works.

Highlight notes of a specific member

If the notes are grouped, it is hard to focus on the notes of a specific member. in that case, use the Highlight feature inside every note to blur all other notes and focus on a specific member's notes. Click once more on the same link to Clear the highlight.

Animated image showing five notes from 2 members. Mouse hovers one of the notes and clicks an option reading 'Highlight Mike notes', all notes that are not from Mike are blurred. Mouse clicks 'Clear Highlight' and all notes are visible

Vote notes stage

The main purpose of this step is for participants to vote on the most important notes.

As the facilitator of the meeting, proceeding to the Votes stage you will see a popup with some additional options to set up maximum votes per participant and make votes visible while voting, as seen below.

Modal to setup votes per member and choose whether or not everybody will see other peoples votes

⚠️ Customization of votes is available only for Standard and Enterprise plans.

Each participant can cast a specific number of votes by clicking on the + badge next to each note. To remove a vote, either click on one of the filled-up bars at the top of a note or click the -1 button on the bottom left corner of a voted note.

In a section below the header, participants can see the number of available votes they can cast.

View of the Vote stage of the retrospective. Right under the header holding the name of the stage and participants, there is a section for the available vots to cast. Some notes in columns have votes casted.

Participants can cast more than one vote on a single item to stress its importance. The voted notes are marked with a different color so that you can instantly tell your votes. To revoke a vote click again on the voted note.

In the case of grouped notes, team members can only vote on the parent note.

At this stage, you can still add and edit notes as the retrospective discussion moves forward.

Discussion & action items stage

This step focuses on exploring actionable items on the voted notes.

The discussion stage, showing a list of notes on the left side of the screen, each with the votes. The right side has a a title saying Action items and an option to Add action item under the title

The main area changes again to hold the list of all your notes sorted by votes on one side and an Action items list where you can add your action items and review any action items that are not complete from your previous retrospective meetings.

We suggest reviewing and completing any previously open action items before adding any new ones. Participants will feel positive about the work and actions they have already done before committing to new action items.

If at any point you want to edit or revisit your notes you need to click the Return to Board link.

Additionally, you can copy a note to an action item, by hovering the note of interest and clicking the + Add as action item link on the top right corner of each note.

A view of a note with an option reading Add as action item

You can also assign a team member responsible for carrying out a specific action item. To do that, hover over an action item you added, and click on the link displayed in the bottom left corner of the action item.

An action item with a dropdown menu to assign the action item to either the team or one team member

It is recommended to add less than 4 action items, so that participants can focus on taking action and not get intimidated by the number of things that need action.

If you have AI-Assist enabled, you will see some suggestions on possible action items. These suggestions are based on the most voted notes from your retrospective. You can get up to 8 suggestions for your retrospective.

A view of AI-Assist under Action items section, where a few action items are automatically suggested by AI-Assist

7. Completing the retrospective

When you are done with your action items each participant can click the Finish button to complete the retrospective meeting.

When the meeting finishes, all participants will receive an email containing the decided action items and all the retrospective notes.

With AI-Assist enabled, you will also get a summary of your retrospective in the email and the retrospective analysis on your Timeline.

Action items and integrations

Facilitators can see an extra summary screen when completing the retrospective. This screen is available if you have an active integration that allows you to turn action items into tasks or issues in your third-party service.

Admin view of retrospective summary, showing information about participants, overall sentiment based on meeting notes, duration, votes casted, and action items. There are buttons for adding action items to Jira, Linear, Asana, and Basecamp

The facilitator can hover an action item and click on the checkbox at the left to select it. Then click on the respecting integration button to import selected action items to the integration of choice.

A modal to link an action item to Jira showing the Jira project to create the ticket to and a preview of the ticket title matching the action item title

In case there is no need for an import, click the Close button, located on the right side of the action items card, to exit this view.

8. Restarting the retrospective

In case you are the facilitator and want to restart the meeting you can do so from the options dropdown next to the main action button.

The retrospective dropmenu with options to Restart the retrospective, Set Sprint Goal, Add Video call link, View Previous retro, View action items, Keyboard shortcuts, and share feedback

⚠️When a retrospective restarts all previous notes are lost!

Additional options

While in a retrospective meeting, you can also view your team's previous action items using the menu or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + I.

The retrospective dropmenu with options to Restart the retrospective, Set Sprint Goal, Add Video call link, View Previous retro, View action items, Keyboard shortcuts, and share feedback

Previous action items will be displayed as an overlay box hovering from the right of the screen, containing both open and closed action items.

A drawer listing all the action items for the selected team over the retrospective interface. All action items are listed regardless if they are open or completed

The meeting facilitator can invite more members to the session by clicking the avatar with the "+" icon in the members' list, on the top right of the header section.

A modal for inviting more members in a meeting. There is an input to add members already in Team O'clock or invite via email. There are two members added, one existing and another one via email.

You can either invite a member of your team that has already an account on Team O'clock or invite a colleague via email.

Retrospective expiration

All retrospectives have a default expiration time, measured in days. Expiration days ensure that you and your team don't have a meeting running too long and that you will have a record of the meeting progress even if you haven't completed all the retrospective steps. When Expiration days elapse, the retrospective meeting is automatically completed, and all participants receive an email with all the current action items

Expiration days are days that a retrospective has no activity, so any of the following actions will reset the Expiration days:

  • Any of the members visiting the retrospective meeting in their browser

  • Any of the members adding, modifying, or voting a note

  • The facilitator visits the page and progresses to a different step

Expiration days are a customization option in the team management interface.

Setting or changing video call URL

To use a video conference with your remotees you can setup a Video Call Link from the options dropdown on the left of the main button.

This input is available to all your team members and anyone can setup the Video Call URL. You can type and use any video service you are already using.

To access the setup Video Call URL use the link displayed in the middle on the bottom of the page.

Can't find what you are looking for? Have a question or idea?

Get in touch