Online retrospective meeting

A complete guide on the what, why, when, and how of a successful online retrospective

Read this complete guide to learn all about the retrospective meetings and how Team O'clock can assist your team into embracing the online retrospective.


What retrospective means?

According to Cambridge dictionary, the word Retrospective means to relate to or think about the past. In the context of agile or scrum, retrospective refers to a team meeting focusing on collective improvement.

In a retrospective meeting a team evaluates their previous work and come up with possible ways to improve their work in the future.

A retrospective meeting has a specific structure, usually involving distinct steps where participants interact using sticky notes on a physical or digital board.

Following the structure of the meeting, the participants are requested to come up with action items that will help the team to become better.

Why retrospective is important?

The retrospective is important both in agile and out of agile, as a tool leading to alignment and improvement for teams that apply it in their workflows.

The way that a retrospective meeting works promotes open communication between teams and improves teamwork among peers. By building the foundation for better communication and collaboration, the teams can be more productive and successful at producing positive outcomes.

Additionally, the retrospective meeting setting is built in a way to continuously keep the team focused and ever-improving. Read how the retrospective can assist in continuous improvement.

Since retrospective is another meeting, attention is needed to keeping it relevant and interesting for the involved members. Keep reading for some common pitfalls that can render retrospective unnecessary.

When retrospective is conducted in agile

Knowing when to conduct a retrospective is one of the key elements for a successful retrospective. Usually, a retrospective is held when a defined increment of work or cycle of work has just been completed.

The most usual and suggested timeframe for a retrospective is to perform a meeting every 2 weeks with the team you are working with the most on a daily basis. This kind of retrospective is ideal for a team that works closely together in specific work cycles, it is called the sprint or scrum retrospective.

A retrospective meeting can be useful in more cases than a team working closely together. For those cases, the agile retrospective is conducted driven by action or time, for example, the end of a quarter or a feature release.

How retrospective is done

Having an effective meeting first and foremost requires proper onboarding to the meeting topics, structure, and meeting goals. Especially talking about the retrospective, it is important to make participants feel secure and respectful of each other.

Participants of an online retrospective meeting are people that have interacted in the period of discussion. So, depending on the setting, a team can perform a retrospective with the product owner or the scrum master if the team is following an agile framework, or even have a retrospective without a product owner.

The goal of a retrospective can vary. So there are many different setups that a team can follow to focus on a specific goal, those setups are called retrospective activities.

Read a complete guide on how retrospective is done.

The retrospective activities offer a great variety in the retrospective meeting. Choosing the right retrospective activity is important when you are just starting with this kind of meeting. The most common retrospective activities are the Start Stop Continue activity and the liked learned retrospective. Activities come in many flavors ranging from simple ones up to role-playing and whatever each team can decide. If you are just starting with this meeting read on how to have retrospective for new teams.

To assure that a retrospective meeting is successful, the team will need to come up with some conclusions and a specific plan to tackle them. The conclusion of a retrospective meeting is one or more action items for the team. To secure continuous improvement it is important to act on those items, read more on how to handle action items.

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Team O'clock for online retrospective

Team O’clock is following the above retrospective principles in a loose way, optimized on a retrospective for remote teams working asynchronously or synchronously.

By leveraging the functionalities that the digital form is bringing to the table, Team O’clock connects with your communication and project management tools, to embed online retrospective to your workflow and start building a productive habit.

How retrospective is done

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."

Henry Ford