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How our team used the Retrospective Play

Heather Larsen May 6, 2021

Inspired by the question on how our experiences with Team Playbook went.

Why did you choose the Play?

Somewhat recently we were looking for ways to shake up some of our meetings, so we ran a very short Retro in place of a standard ritual and it was well-received. We now make them regular practice. We chose Retros because we felt it would provide the team with an open forum to discuss how they were feeling about the work/projects and what things we could try implementing to help improve teamwork.

Our Variation

We utilize EasyRetro to run our Retros. We find using a tool that allows our team members to share anonymously helps get the conversation started more easily. And we structure our columns to be: "What went well", "What didn't go well", and "Actionable items" Each Retro also includes a Team Health Check survey question.

We spend the first few minutes recapping the progress made on the action items from the previous Retro, then we recap the sprint metrics. After the recaps, the team gets some time to input their comments and then vote. Voting determines what we spend time discussing. We then discuss the top-ranked comments (more if we have time), proposing solutions and action items, as necessary.

What roles were involved?

  • Director
  • DesignOps/Facilitator
  • Team Leads
  • Designers

Each Designer also sits on a Product team and some of them do Retros with their larger product teams, as well.

How did it go?

We've now run 3 Retros and they've all provided us with some really valuable feedback. I've also received feedback from a few team members that they feel it's been a great addition and that they're enjoying the anonymous survey question at the beginning to see where the rest of the team stands on certain things.

What happened as a result?

Action Items are very important to us, so we make sure to follow through on them in a couple of ways.

  • If the action item is something that leadership needs to address, then it gets brought up in a leadership meeting after Retro where we discuss proposed solutions and next steps.
  • If the action item is something that the team members themselves can start to implement, then it gets summarized and shared out to our Teams channel and Team Leads do check-ins on progress/hiccups during 1-on-1s.
  • Additionally, we hold ourselves accountable by recapping the progress made from the previous Retro's action items and the impact the changes had on the team.

Would love to hear your thoughts on how we've chosen to run this Play and if there are 



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Laura Holton _ACE Rotterdam_
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May 7, 2021

Thanks for sharing your experience @Heather Larsen it's great to read the results your team achieved and that you've now got 3 retros under your belt 😃

Like Sarah Preston likes this
Margo D October 31, 2022

Including a team health check survey question in the retro is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

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