How to Run a Collaboration Retrospective

… and increasing collaboration of teams.

Many of us have seen teams that should work together more closely and yet, for various reasons, aren’t able to do so. They run into problems, are not very efficient, lose focus on common objectives, and threaten the overall success of the release. In many cases, this stems from a lack of communication, poor face-to-face exchange, and maybe a stressful environment.

 

At this point, my „Collaboration Retrospective“ can often help to identify and remove obstacles. It helps eliminate misunderstandings and brings people together. Even more, it enables teams them to find their own solutions. This retrospective model is based on the following principles:

  • Teams declare their wishes instead of making accusations.
  • Teams work toward aligning positive and appreciative thoughts.
  • An allowance is made for maintaining a dialogue across the teams.
  • The retrospective provides an opportunity to work out offerings in response to wishes.
  • Wishes and offerings are made transparent and public.
  • All cooperate; therefore, team members are more committed.
  • All participants organize themselves.
  • Repeat the retrospective, and refine it continuously.

The retrospective is simple and effective (based on the feedback I’ve received from participants) and can work well within a one-hour time limit.

Preparation

You will need the following to prepare:

  1. A wall poster or flip chart, prepared according to the image below, with one column per team
  2. Post-it<®> notes

 

Collaboration-Retrospective.jpeg

 Implementation

  1. Build cross-team groups, and have them write their wishes (on Post-its) to particular teams. It is important to mix the groups over team boundaries for this first step. Timebox: 10 minutes
  2. Each group presents its results to the plenum and answers comprehensive questions. Timebox: 3 minutes per group
  3. Team members come together and brainstorm offers (written on Post-its) to make in response to the wishes of their team. Timebox: 10 minutes
  4. The teams present their offers to the plenum. Timebox: 3 minutes per team
  5. All participants evaluate the offers of the other teams on a rating scale of 1 to 10. (A mark is placed on the scale below the offers.) Timebox: 5 minutes
  6. If the average rating of a team is poor, which should rarely be the case, the moderator may encourage the affected team to come up with better offers.
  7. At the end, the teams collaboratively identify concrete actions: what, who, and due date. Timebox: 10 minutes

Post-processing

I’ve had good results by placing the poster or chart somewhere visible to all teams and participants. At the next retrospective, you might continue by tracking the actions and refining the wishes and offers.

I hope you’ll be as successful as we have been with this kind of retrospective. I would be glad to hear about your experiences and answer any questions.

Renzo Venini
CSM, CSP

Ein Gedanke zu “How to Run a Collaboration Retrospective

  1. Thank you so much for this retrospective plan. I ran it last week for a project that involved three teams. The results were very rich, and this structure completely eliminates the temptation to turn the event into a blame-and-shame session. Mixing the teams to generate the wish lists tempers hostility, and then having the individual team offer solutions completely eliminates finger-pointing. My teams created some powerful action items for the next joint project.

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