FAQ

The basics: retrospectives

What is an agile retrospective?

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

In essence, a 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 an agile retrospective is 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 slow down and reflect on everyday work for a moment - in the end, what counts is that you benefit from it.

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 this poses for companies 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, both in terms of 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.

Who are retrospectives for?

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.
  • Growth Mindset: Each team member is willing to develop personally and to support the other team members with their feedback in their development.

Who takes 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 regulated and 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. Maybe you just let the moderation role roll in the team - everyone alternates in a certain order.

How does a retrospective with Echometer work?

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

Questions about Echometer

What exactly is Echometer?

Whether change manager, agile coach, scrum master, HR manager or ordinary manager: Echometer is suitable for anyone who wants to ensure systematic participation of employees and at the same time wants valid monitoring of the change process.

In addition, Echometer serves HR developers in particular to further develop employees and managers through 360º feedback (so-called multi-rater feedback).

How does the Echometer tool work?

The general procedure of Echometer is as follows: First, anonymous feedback (eg from the team) is obtained. The results are then presented to those involved in so-called retrospectives. In this framework, improvement approaches can be recorded. These measures are then continuously checked and supplemented.

Who is Echometer for?

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 this poses for companies 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, both in terms of 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.

What do I have to consider to successfully implement Echometer?

Echometer can be most effective if the purpose of the introduction is clearly and transparently communicated in advance. Participants should be informed of what is happening to their feedback and that your answers are anonymous. In addition, the introduction should be coordinated with the works council and other stakeholders as early as possible.

Who decides which questions are asked?

We offer an item pool designed based on decades of research. Both the organization and each teams chooses which aspects are relevant for them. At the same time, you can also ask your own questions, for example based on your company values.

Is the feedback anonymous?

Yes, the feedback is anonymous. However, in the conversations initiated by Echometer during the online workshops, you can voluntarily share your assessment with the group in order to encourage team reflection and stimulate further development.

Why should I get feedback from the team before team retro?

For three reasons: Openness: Retrospectives include addressing critical issues openly. However, it is often difficult to name the elephant in the room. At this point, a small, anonymous survey in advance can be very helpful. Psychological models: Echometer does not collect any feedback, but targeted feedback based on validated psychological constructs. In this way, it represents precise small nudges in order to continuously develop teamwork. Monitoring: Do you actually improve from retro to retro? Good question that few have a clear answer to. Echometer makes this question answerable - in such a way that the question can probably be answered in the affirmative.

Does Echometer tell me how to set up my team retros?

No. We want to give the moderators or executives the greatest possible freedom when designing the retro. In this respect, the proposed steps of team retro can be adopted, but can also be skipped.

As a rule, it is advisable to start the retro with Echometer and thus map the check-in and the "gather data" phase by discussing the results.

The entrepreneurial added value

Let's say Echometer reduces employee turnover - what does that do for us?

Fluctuation leads to direct costs (e.g. new recruiting process), indirect costs (e.g. demoralization of employees), opportunity costs (e.g. no purchases) and network costs (e.g. contacts of sales employees). It is therefore difficult to put into numbers. Deloitte's former hiring manager, Jim Wall, did the math for his company: saving one percent less annual staff turnover saves him $ 400-500 million (The Economist, 2007).

HOW DOES ECHOMETER HELP US ON EMPLOYER BRANDING AND SKILLS?

Before you put tons of financial resources into recruiting, you should analyze one thing carefully: Where are the problems in your company that lead to high employee turnover? Echometer will help you here. Because with Echometer, corporate culture can be measured in a targeted manner.

At the same time, culture is the currency of the new world of work. It is one of the most important selection criteria for applicants and is at the core of every authentic employer brand.

Our employees are already motivated. Would we still have added value through Echometer?

Yes, definitely. The fact that your employees are motivated does not mean that there is already a feedback culture that optimizes your innovation potential. Echometers will still help your team to build a continuous improvement process.

What is the advantage of an agile approach?

Agility increases employee engagement: almost three times as many highly motivated (or committed) employees work in companies that use agile methods as in other companies (Gallup engagement study, 2018). Agile methods also increase the cultural ability to change - a highly recommended quality in our VUKA world.

Questions about data protection

Is Echometer GDPR compliant?

Naturally. Echometer was designed in such a way that the security of the data and the anonymity of the answers are guaranteed in every case. All communication is encrypted according to current standards. If you have any questions, please contact datenschutz@echometer.de.

Where is the data collected by echometers stored?

Customer data from Echometer are encrypted and stored on servers within the EU GDPR.

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