If you are new to agile retrospectives and the amazing impact they can have on team productivity. Welcome! If you are already familiar with the retrospective, then you know how these team meetings can curate effective collaboration and innovative thinking needed to improve team performance.
Retrospectives can be one of -if not, the most- productive meeting teams can have to ensure they are able to achieve a common goal. But many teams struggle to create the effective retrospective environment needed to curate maximum productivity.
“Thinking again can help you generate new solutions to old problems and revisit old solutions to new problems. It’s a path to learning more from the people around you and living with fewer regrets.”
Think again, Adam Grant
Individual team members provide honest feedback. That is it. 😄 If you can ensure that you are getting comprehensive, honest feedback. Then your retrospective will be a success, your team will be able to overcome obstacles, and employee productivity towards company goals can improve.
Pretty simple right?
Unfortunately, getting comprehensive honest feedback is much easier said than done. In order for that to happen, the entire team needs to feel comfortable, remain critical, and feel confident that changes will be made. 🤔 That is where things get challenging.
If something is interfering with productivity, you would want to know right away. No matter who told you. Successful teams such as Google, Apple, most of the social network sites, all speak to the benefits of team collaboration and encourage the free flow of ideas regardless of seniority.
Some of these companies going so far as to create billion-dollar office campuses specifically designed to encourage collaborative culture. And collaboration only exists when feedback can be provided from all team members. If only a few team members provide feedback, it is no longer collaboration.
It is a meeting where senior team members make decisions and give orders to others. You need open feedback loops in order to fully benefit from the diversity of thought available on your team. Freedom of thought allows for better idea generation and process development.
“If we didn’t need to hide things from the management levels, we could finish production so much faster.”
PrecisionMobile operator in the study
Maybe you have established that everyone on the team is able to provide feedback. But do they feel comfortable doing so? A lot of factors can affect employee engagement in retrospectives.
Different communication styles, social relationships can all play into this. If a group is unclear about how to communicate about company goals or overcoming challenging tasks, then only a few members of the team will remain comfortable speaking up. Creating a working agreement and communication policy can help make sure everyone is aligned on when and how to speak up.
This can be the largest issue for even productive teams. There is no psychological safety built within the culture. Psychological safety is a teams ability comfortable that constructive feedback and ideas will be welcome. If there is a company culture of punishing those that provide negative feedback. You will never get honest internal communication.
Unfortunately, some teams still feel that retrospectives are a waste of time, and it would be more productive to have one less unnecessary meeting. 😱 High-performing teams recognize retrospectives as a source of productivity because they actually see the outcome and progress made from retrospectives. These teams create realistic goals, and measure key performance indicators that give them valuable data to show that the ideas created in the retrospective are making a real difference. So they know if the retro meeting was productive time spent.
For a period of time, whiteboards and sticky notes were the primary way to have a productive teams. For modern teams, sticky notes are no longer effective, especially on a hybrid or remote team. Using tools specified to create psychologically safe retrospectives can help your team streamline the prep, focus on discussion, and create new and attainable goals, and complete tasks on a regular basis.