A retrospective on your retros

If you’ve worked with a software development team you may have done retros. Regular events where teams reflect on what’s gone well or not recently.

Their goal is to play part in creating an accountable team. One that talks honestly to each other. That checks what’s happening matches the outcomes they want to achieve.

Regular team meetings where you can talk to each other about what’s working. What isn’t are a good part of holding yourself and others accountable.

But doing retros only gets you and your team so far. They need to help you hold each other to account.

You can test how useful retros (and similar things) are by asking a few questions:

  • Do you feel heard or talked at?
  • Is everything someone else’s fault or failing? [The developers, the designers, policy etc.]
  • Are solutions thrown around before the problem is completely voiced?
  • Does the team come out with any actions?
  • Do those actions actually happen?
  • Does anything change afterwards?
  • Do the same topics or issues keep coming up?
  • Do people’s real complaints or issues get aired in the retro, or in private conversations?

If the answer to these questions makes you feel like retros aren’t working. Time to change how your team holds each other accountable.

It’s time to be honest and clear about how working like you do right now isn’t working.

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