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How Rosie Brent Transformed her Retrospectives with GoRetro

Rosie uses GoRetro to turn her retrospectives into engaging, objective and data driven events that the team appreciates.


The challenge:

Rosie’s team, like many other Scrum teams, faced the challenge of lacking participation and engagement from her team members. Retrospectives were monotonous and boring. In many cases only one or two team members participated, and very often the feedback was completely biased.

The solution:

Rosie uses GoRetro throughout the three steps of becoming an advanced, data driven, and effective Scrum team.

Step 1: Change the settings and flow into a fun, engaging and framed flow.

Step 2: Add an objective data layer into the meeting.

Step 3: Add an AI layer to come up with contextual insights.

The challenge:

Rosie Brent, who works as an Agile leader for over a decade, has been running Scrum retrospective meetings with her teams for 3 years. She expressed how good feedback is the base of every good retro meeting. But getting the team to participate and share their thoughts is one of the main challenges Agile practitioners experience. The retrospective meeting is often perceived as a boring routine which wastes the developers time. As a result developers don’t participate and thus do not contribute to the meeting, making it even less effective. As Rosie describes it, the challenges can be divided into several aspects:

  1. Lack of feedback - people are silent, arrive to the meeting with low energy and low expectations.
  2. Lack of feedback variety - if only a couple of participants share their feedback and “take over the meeting,” or don’t have the attention or time to dive deeper into the Sprint timeline and what really happened, they stay with “the last thing they remember.”
  3. Biased feedback - most people are biased by nature. Some are less likely to be the first to stir up a storm, while others may have more “political” considerations when posting feedback.
The solution:

Rosie chose to use GoRetro, which would enable her to facilitate the retrospective meetings and provide her with a full facilitation toolbox. GoRetro helps her change the way her team perceive retrospective meetings, increase participation and engagement and set the stage for continuous improvement.


Use facilitation techniques

The first stage of a successful retrospective is to make it fun, interesting and engaging. The ability to have a surprise element adds interest and prevents the meeting from becoming monotonous. For example, picking a new template for each meeting and/or starting the meeting with a fun activity like GoRetro’s set of icebreakers and games.

Once the team is engaged and actively participates in the meeting, the facilitator uses a set of facilitation features to control the meeting, hide/unhide card authors, votes and comments, show only top voted cards, set timers and use many other facilitation empowerments.

Last but not least, one of the most powerful tools a facilitator can have is action items tracking and enforcement, and GoRetro provides just that. A retrospective without action items is bound to turn into a waste of time, and having action items without checking on them each meeting makes them meaningless.


Support the meeting with real objective data to keep the conversation “fact based”

The next stage of a productive retrospective meeting would be to add the data layer. Advanced Scrum Masters like Rosie use data to look into the Sprint and understand what really happened. As Rosie describes it,

“...instead of having a personal perception, they've got a much more empirical measure to use, which is obviously much more useful for them to make decisions about how they'd like to move forward.”

The team can then easily answer questions such as how many unplanned events did we have? Have we worked according to the priorities? Did we finish up all the spillover from the previous Sprint? How is our actual vs. planned trend over the last 3 Sprints? Are our estimates accurate? What does the task cycle time look like?

“Cycle time isn’t something the team thinks about, as a Scrum Master I do. Seeing it as part of the retro kind of changes their perspective on how the movement of the tickets actually happened.”

Supercharge the retrospective with AI to focus the team on what matters most

Now that the team has data to support their retrospective, they need to be efficient. Going through all of the data points takes time, and as Rosie puts it

“Data on its own means nothing. I mean, I can create statistics upside down and backwards, but without any context, they're meaningless.”

Rosie is right, without context and without staying laser focused on what matters, the team will not engage. One possible solution is to run through many preparations before each meeting. But our goal is to save time, not to add more of it, so we came up with the Joker, an AI assistant that analyzes the data for you and comes up with the most important issues. Rosie experienced the Joker with her team:

״As if somebody external to the team turned around and said oh, did you know? Because fresh eyes always see the same information completely differently. They don't have any sort of baggage, any politics, any kind of reason to say something. The AI is the same, it made us think about things we don’t usually take into account”

With GoRetro, Rosie enjoys a 90% participation in the retrospective meetings. The meetings are fun, engaging and data driven, and the discussions actually help the team to continuously improve:

“So it gives us that sort of nice steady progression, which is exactly what you're looking for in a retrospective.”

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