How retrospective is done

Guide for successful online retrospective with your remote team, synchronously or async

This page is a generic guide on performing a successful online retrospective using Team O'clock.


The first step into a successful outcome is knowing when to perform a 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 the most on a daily basis.

Click to check out some suggested times to perform a retrospective.

Setting up the meeting for your team

To trigger an online retrospective with Team O'clock you can:

  • Start from the administration interface click on the Setup a retrospective button and then choose the team you want to perform a retrospective with.
  • If you are using the Slack integration, navigate to the team's channel and type /retrospective.
  • If you are using the Microsoft Teams integration, navigate to the team's channel and type @Team O'clock retrospective.

When the retrospective is set, your team is notified and everyone can enter the retrospective page.

Read more on Triggering and setting up the retrospective.

Onboarding the team

After the meeting has started, by clicking the Start button on the top right corner, all team members will view the selected activity retrospective board on their screens.

While on this page the first thing that needs to be done is onboard all team members on the activity by providing context for:

  • Framing the topics covered in the retrospective, so that all team knows what to talk about. e.g.
    "In this retrospective we will be talking about our release on feature X and the surrounding events from January until now. Please keep all events that did not affect our release out of the discussion."
  • Onboarding members on the selected activity, by explaining what each column in the board represents and what is expected from each member.

Checkout the proper onboarding for the Start Stop Continue retrospective activity.

Planning poker online view: Team O'clock Planning poker online view: Team O'clock

Team onboarding retrospective tools

Team waiting screen

The waiting screen informs you on who is currently on that page and who the facilitator is. You can claim the facilitation at any point.

Retrospective board

Each activity consists of columns with a title where members can start adding their notes.

Conduct the retrospective

Team O'clock assists the team into having a well structured online retrospective, leading towards outcome, by having distinct steps during the retrospective:

  • Add notes step, where each member is asked to add their notes on the respecting columns.
  • Group notes step, where all notes are revealed and each team member can read and clarify their notes to the rest of the team.
  • Vote notes step, where each member casts a set of votes to the most important notes.
  • Discussion step, where voted notes are revealed in a single ordered list and the team can talk and plan action items.

Your team can choose to have a synchronous or asynchronous retrospective meeting depending on your availability and timezones overlapping.

Grouping retrospective notes by dragging: Team O'clock Facilitator sets timer for each step: Team O'clock Planning poker online view: Team O'clock

Team alignment retrospective tools

Grouping similar notes

During the group notes step, all team members can drag and drop notes between columns as well as group similar notes.

Facilitator set Step Timer

A facilitator can use a timer for each step to assist all members into sticking to a plan. The timer will not automatically proceed with the next retrospective step, but acts as an incentive for the team to complete the required step actions.

Voting options

The facilitator can choose the maximum number of votes each member can cast, and each member can add up to three votes on an important note.

Follow up

The true power of the online retrospective lies on following up with the action items the team has set. This means that your team's work has just started after the retrospective meeting is over!

Action on the items your team has concluded brings out the true power of this recurring activity. When the team acknowledges a successful action items, everyone feels stronger and empowered for more.

Read on action items.

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Frequenty asked questions

Can I schedule how long my async retrospective will be?

A Team O'clock retrospective is always considered asynchronous and will remain open as long as you don't proceed to each step. It is the facilitator's role to control how long a retrospective will last.

If you are having an asynchronous retrospective, please make sure that the facilitator uses the set timer feature to set how long each step will be. Although the set timer is not imposing a hard limit on the step's duration it acts as an incentive for members to complete the said task. After each step, the facilitator needs to set a new timer for the next step.

You can read more about asynchronous retrospective in the respecting guide.

How can I connect with Slack?

If you do not have an organization on Team O'clock you can visit this page and click the "Add to Slack" button. You will be redirected to Slack and a new organization will be created for you.

If you have an existing organization on Team O'clock and you are an administrator on your organization, you can go to your organization settings page and click the "Add to Slack" button.

How can I connect with Microsoft Teams?

To setup the integration you may find the Team O'clock bot in the MS Teams App Store or by visiting your organization settings page and clicking the "Install Addon" button.

When you use the bot for the first time, you will be prompted to "connect" the bot with your Team O'clock organization. You need to be a Team O'clock administrator to do that, or if you do not have one, you will be onboarded into setting up a new one.

How can I connect with Jira?

To connect with Jira you will need a Team O'clock administrator account.

Integration is available both for Jira Cloud and Jira Server through your company settings interface. Clicking the "Connect" button next to the Atlassian Jira integration you will see a popup with the options shown below. Choose either to connect directly with your Jira Cloud service or provide the required credentials to connect with your installed Jira Server.

Read more in the documentation.

Online retrospective flow, a quick recap

1. Onboard your team

Choose the right timing for the retrospective, frame the discussion and onboard the team to the selected activity.

2. Conduct the retrospective

Follow the structure of the meeting, be respectful to your colleagues, focus on the selected outcome for the meeting.

3. Follow up

Decide on action items and follow up with decisions and actions towards a conclusion.

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

Henry Ford