In our post how to manage remote teams we focused on the best practices that would be helpful for teams undertaking remote work for the first time during the COVID-19 period. Great communication and efficient processes are two key elements empowering teams to achieve their targets, more so when everyone is working from home. Thus, we would like to share the simple but efficient process called SCRUM that many IT companies are using to organize their teamwork. In the article, we will take a close look at one of the key elements of SCRUM – an all-team meeting that helps professionals self-evaluate their work and come up with a plan on how to improve their performance. It’s called a retrospective meeting.
We already mentioned that the main goal of the meeting is to allow your team to analyze their work and come up with ways to become more efficient. Our belief is that most of the times people are not able to perform at their best not because they do not want to but because of process-related obstacles. For example, they may not have up-to-date information, or might not have expertise in a subject and thus need more time to fulfill a task, etc. These are all problems that you as a manager can resolve. Following up on the mentioned examples – you can ensure a way for everyone working on a project to get up-to-date information (SCRUM daily standup meetings can help you with that) or that a team member gets training/help from a more experienced colleague. However, in order to help your team, you need to first understand what is slowing them down, Consider using a retrospective meeting for that. In retrospect, together with your co-workers you will identify existing problems and come up with ways to overcome them. In due time this will not only improve the team productivity but when your team observes that others listen, they will become more engaged and motivated. The retrospective should not result in a list of tasks only for the manager; group involvement is a key tenet of the retrospective process.
So, if we’ve convinced you in the benefits of introducing a retrospective meeting in your team workflow, here is what you need to know to run it:
“Take a leap of faith – as a leader you need to show everyone how it’s done. Admit what went could have gone better and offer an analysis of why it didn’t go as expected… Make a commitment to be better.” — says Peter Loos, Managing Member at Seabeck Systems LLC
“Personal connection is very important, talk to the team members in person before /after the meeting to encourage them to step up and take participation.” — shares Pirin Karabenchev, Sofia Dev Studio Founder & Manager
There is no specific tool you have to use when doing a retrospective – the important part is to record the outcomes of each meeting and share them with the team. We recommend you to use tools that your co-workers are already utilizing. The introduction of a new process and a new tool at the same time could be quite challenging. Still, if you feel that your team will benefit from introducing something new, we can recommend several tools we’ve been using throughout the years – FunRetro Board, Trello, or Jira.
We do believe that if you have not already implemented retrospectives, now is a great moment to introduce them in your workflow, especially if this is the first time your team is working remotely. Use the current situation to establish the process and philosophy of constant improvement. Such a shift will lead to long-lasting changes that will affect your team performance even after getting back to the office.