How a Facilitator can Ensure Success in Your Retrospective

November 1, 2010

This is a part of a series that was cre­at­ed to help you get the prac­tice of ret­ro­spec­tives built into your com­pany.  This series will walk through the approach, nec­es­sary roles, in addi­tion to guides for each role to help your com­pany get started quickly.

Prior to Meetings

  • Meet with teams to determine last day of iteration for upcoming events that would lend selves to retrospectives.
  • Develop a calendar for retrospectives.
  • Establish meeting purpose and goal.
  • Invite all key participants.
  • Develop agenda.
  • Send meeting goal, agenda, and ground rules to all participants.
  • Reserve and prepare room for the meeting (white board, computer screen, flip chart, whiteboard markers, index cards, sticky notes, cards).

During the Meeting

  • Remind participants of ground rules.
  • Review agenda.
  • Conduct meeting
  • 25% of time allotted: What went well during iteration we are reviewing?
  • 25% of time allotted: What didn’t go well, and why
  • 50% of time allotted: Identify and prioritize three items to improve

Post Meeting

  • Summarize meeting
  • Distribute meeting summary to all team members and executive team or sponsor
  • Follow up to ensure improvement suggestions are being implemented

Next week, I will dis­cuss the importance of the facilitator’s role when planning and leading the retrospective.

Founder & Partner

As the founder of OpenView, Scott focuses on distinctive business models and products that uniquely address a meaningful market pain point. This includes a broad interest in application and infrastructure companies, and businesses that are addressing the next generation of technology, including SaaS, cloud computing, mobile platforms, storage, networking, IT tools, and development tools.