Boost Your Team Performance with These Two Retrospective Techniques

As a team leader, you must agree:

Constantly making sure that your team remains engaged and motivated is a real challenge, especially since we’re all so busy.

Here’s a simple solution to know how they feel:

Organise a Team Retrospective with your team.

How to Run Your Next Team Retrospective: The Clearing Session

At the end of every week, meet with your team and ask these two questions:

  1. What is not working for you?
  2. What is working for you?

One person at a time answers the first question. And when everyone is done—you included—the team starts answering the second question.

There’s no interruption. While someone answers a question, everyone else listens to her or him—like in a brainstorming session.

It’s your role as leader to make sure that everyone pays attention to what is being said. And that the person talking can freely explain what is not working and then what is working for her or him.

The Agile Retrospective: Start – Stop – Continue

Another technique is the “Start – Stop – Continue”.

It’s simple.

Each member of the team writes down on Post-it notes:

  • Things that the team needs to stop doing. These are things that make the team less effective.
  • Things that the team should start doing. These are things that could help the team perform better.
  • Things that the team should keep doing. These are things that the team shouldn’t stop doing because it works well.

Once everyone is done with capturing their thoughts, we share back.

There are two ways of doing it:

  • One by one the team members share back their Start – Stop – Keep.
  • The team shares everything about Start, then discuss. Everything about Stop, etc.

The objective is to capture clear actions for the next sprint, making sure that nothing is being ignored.

The Benefits of a Team Retrospective

Although I was a bit skeptical when we started doing it at Contriber, I quickly realised the potential of running retrospective sessions with your team.

In a very short session (20–30 minutes):

  1. You understand how your team feels.
  2. You uncover stories that you couldn’t have heard in another way.
  3. You get clarity on what can be improved and what is already going well.
  4. It’s a great way to build a strong culture. Everyone becomes aware of how the rest of the team—the leader included—feels.

So give it a try.

Schedule next week’s clearing session now.

Sharing what’s not working and what’s working will definitely have a positive impact on your team.