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Running Better Retrospectives

Mohamed Riza _ServiceRocket_
Rising Star
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September 11, 2023

I recently had the opportunity to run a play facilitation session using the program from the Atlassian Teamwork Lab. It was a great experience that challenged me to improve my soft skills and learn how to lead a productive and collaborative meeting. In this blog post, I want to share some of my insights and tips for anyone who wants to try this program for the first time.

Running this session felt like a rewarding exercise in planning, communication and problem-solving. I had to think through the whole process from start to finish, and anticipate how to deal with common scenarios that might arise during the session. I also had to keep all the participants engaged and focused on the goal of the session, which was to come up with a shared vision and action plan for our team.

What went well from my perspective was that I learned how to better structure the session and use the tools and templates provided by the program. I found the play cards very helpful and easy to use. I also learned how to manage the dynamics of the group and ensure that everyone had a voice and a chance to contribute. I was able to balance between giving guidance and letting the participants discover their own solutions.

What I might try differently next time is to conduct the retrospective in a more interactive way. Instead of just asking for feedback and writing it down, I would like to discuss each point with the group and then create action items together based on the discussion. I think this would make the retrospective more meaningful and actionable, and also help me improve as a facilitator.

Some tips for first-time facilitators that I would like to share are:

- Just get started. You will learn a lot in the process and you will get better with practice.
- Reflect on your own performance and ask for feedback from others. You will be surprised by how much you can learn by just stopping and thinking about how you handled the session.
- Take it step by step and don't get overwhelmed. The program has a clear structure and guidance that will help you along the way.
- Prepare in advance for your session. Review the materials, set up the online platform, invite the participants and send them a reminder. This will save you time and stress during the session.

I hope this blog post has given you some useful insights and tips on how to run a play facilitation session using the program from the Atlassian Teamwork Lab. I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to improve their teamwork skills and have fun at the same time.

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Laurie Sciutti
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Rising Stars are recognized for providing high-quality answers to other users. Rising Stars receive a certificate of achievement and are on the path to becoming Community Leaders.
September 12, 2023

👏🏻

David Blank
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Rising Stars are recognized for providing high-quality answers to other users. Rising Stars receive a certificate of achievement and are on the path to becoming Community Leaders.
September 12, 2023

Thank you for sharing your experience @Mohamed Riza _ServiceRocket_ !

 

What was your favorite part of the session? Were there any assumptions you made beforehand about how it would go or what would be successful that were proven or disproved?

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Mohamed Riza _ServiceRocket_
Rising Star
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Rising Stars are recognized for providing high-quality answers to other users. Rising Stars receive a certificate of achievement and are on the path to becoming Community Leaders.
September 12, 2023

My favorite part was the how the retro helped both my team and I stop for a moment and genuinely reflect on what could be improved. We came with some great insights and action items that I am looking forward to this week!

I actually thought that the session might be very dry, and my team would not have much to say. I was surprised at the insights we got and the resolve of the team. 

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
September 12, 2023

Great reflections on your experience in trying out the "facilitator" role for debriefing Plays from the Atlassian Team Playbook, @Mohamed Riza _ServiceRocket_!

What do you think the hardest part was in learning about how to facilitate and then actually doing it? And, assuming you got through that part, how did you address it?

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Mohamed Riza _ServiceRocket_
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Rising Stars are recognized for providing high-quality answers to other users. Rising Stars receive a certificate of achievement and are on the path to becoming Community Leaders.
September 13, 2023

Managing the time during the session. It generally causes me some level of anxiety when I see the time ticking and we are not where we are supposed to be according to my estimations before the session. I got the idea of using a timer and briefing the participants beforehand. I noticed that they always finished before or on time and so I did not have to worry of going over time. Also, it seems like a more polite way rather than cutting them off and asking them to park the conversation for later. 

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
September 13, 2023

Thanks for being so vulnerable and sharing this note, @Mohamed Riza _ServiceRocket_

I think relying on software is a GREAT idea to keep time. Because the tool takes the accountability role. If it helps reduce anxiety, maybe keeping time for all the parts of a Retro (not just the sections where folks are generating ideas) can help keep time overall.

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