Frequently asked questions about retrospectives

What is an agile retrospective?

Agile retrospectives ("retro" for short) are periodic, small team workshops. They offer teams the opportunity to work in short, iterative cycles - usually every 2 weeks - to reflect current events and behaviors. 

In essence, the retro answers the following 3 questions: What has worked well in the past few weeks? What didn't work out so well? What will we do differently from now on - and how?

What is an agile retrospective not?

A retrospective with Echometer is:

no Blabla meeting: If no concrete wishes for action items are found at or nobody is interested in them, then retros are a waste of time.

no blame-Game: Retros are not there to shift responsibility or blame others for negative events or developments. Let everybody be part of the solution!

no classic employee survey: A retro with Echometer has nothing to do with huge questionnaire packages, meaningless results or a "complaint box". The retros are close to the action, short, effective and above all: for you! The goal is that you can zoom-out and reflect on everyday work for a moment - what counts in the end is that you benefit from them.

Why retrospectives at all?

Probably the most decisive factor that illustrates the current relevance of retrospectives: the change in ours today VUCA world. But how do you manage to overcome the challenges as a team and help shape the change instead of always having to react to it? The retrospective builds on this task precisely by providing a basis for ...

  • ... self-reflection in the team, with regard to both positive and negative aspects
  • ... active involvement and open voice of all team members
  • ... an initiation of mutually generated and accepted ideas for improvement.

Through the openness in retros and the monitoring of the measures, the goal of improved cooperation can be achieved effectively in the long term.

For whom are retrospectives suitable?

Retrospectives are suitable for any team that wants to continuously improve. Even if retrospectives are often practiced in connection with agile working frameworks, retrospectives can also be used completely independently.

Experience shows that optimal (but not necessary) prerequisites for good team retros are:

  • A familiar atmosphere: The team members know each other and have regular contact with each other in their everyday work, or joint projects on which they are working.
  • An existing feedback culture in the team: A basis for being able to address critical issues in the team.
  • A Growth Mindset: Each team member is willing to develop personally and to support the other team members with their feedback in their development.

Who is part in a retrospective?

A retrospective typically takes place at the team level (approx. 3 - 15 members). All team members take part. In order for the process to be as efficient as possible, you should appoint a moderator (and a deputy). The Scrum Master, for example, or another team member can take on this task. You can also just let the moderation role change each time.

How does the process of a retrospective with Echometer look like?

The process roughly looks like this:

  1. Collect feedback → Anonymous feedback in advance of the retro on the basis of items (i.e. behavioral anchors) that were selected individually for the team (typically by the moderator)
  2. Check-in the retro → Get together, create an open atmosphere and reflect the results of the feedback in the online workshop (possibly mixed with offline exercises)
  3. Generate insights → What is (not) going well? Which patterns can be seen?
  4. Decide on measures → What specific steps can we as a team use to make small improvements that, at best, can be implemented until the team's next retro?
  5. Complete retro → Mutually appreciate participation and initiate the measures that have been decided

Further questions? Then have a look at our general FAQs!

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