Tools for conducting retrospective meetings

An agile team, especially working remotely, has a work load punctuated by different meetings, that serve to divide the work plan, create together with the colleagues, update the team, among others. However, we often forget about the importance of a “retrospective meeting”.

The main objective of a retrospective meeting is to identify potential improvements in the way the team works, based on the past weeks’ events. Thus, their success is essential for the well-being (and functioning) of the team in the long run. However, they require a great deal of preparation and some key success factors, and it can be considered “successful” if team members are confident that their functioning as a team will meliorate for the next weeks and the trend shows a continuous improvement over time.

Retrospective meetings should always include:

  • Celebrate successes: a new project, an innovative idea, a past action identified during the last retrospective that led to the expected results, …
  • Discuss the issues and irritants – from the smallest (the coffee is bad) to the biggest (we need new fundings) – and take time to analyze them
  • Identify the actions to solve these issues and irritants

As we have been exploring in the past weeks, the online world is here to support us, so here you can find three online tools to support you in organizing and conducting professional retrospective meetings.

 

Reetro
Reetro simplifies the process of executing and managing the retrospectives. Agile teams can use Reetro to either run regular retrospectives or as a general brainstorming tool.
All they have to do is to tell the tool what type of format they intended to use and how often they run retrospectives. Once the retrospective format and date is selected, Reetro will automatically create a board before the next meeting and sends automatic feedback push notification to the team members. After team members have submitted the feedback. It will be mapped to the corresponding columns on the board.
It’s free and you can request a demo on their website, where you can find also explanations on the method and case studies on its use.

 

Parabol
Parabol is literally a digitally-coached online retrospective meeting. The software guides your team to surface your teammates’ recent experiences, group them into themes, and develop an action plan, capture learnings, and make improvements. A meeting summary is generated automatically and all new tasks are captured on the team’s dashboard. Parabol leads your team through 5 simple rounds to ensure that your agile retrospectives are a transformative and user-friendly experience.
Up to two teams is free, and you can try a demo on their website.

 

Scatterspoke
Scatterspoke is very similar to the previous ones: you can customize your format, see trends and analytics, run scaled retrospectives, and it integrates with other applications and softwares for project management.
The killing feature is that it is really easy to play the role of the facilitator, and it allows different people within the team to assume it.
As the other, it’s free and you can request a demo online on their website.