The retrospective meeting

The retrospective meeting

A retrospective can be used either by a team or any other group of people. The structure and form of this event will try to motivate all participants to contribute and engage.

Checkout a tutorial video, read through the rest of the page for full details about the retrospective meeting.

1. Triggering a retrospective

There are two possible ways to notify members when you want to start a retrospective event:

Option1: Administration pages
By clicking the Start a meeting and then selecting Retrospective. This will open a form to select retrospective members or teams.

Option2: Through integrations
Using Slack, initiative by typing /retrospective slash command in your channel of choice.

Using Microsoft Teams, type @Team O'clock retrospective in your team channel. All participants will be personally notified to join by Team O'clock bot.

When you are done triggering a retrospective, a unique URL is created for that meeting and communicated to participants either via email or directly on chat channel to join the meeting.

You now have the option to setup a recurring retrospective meeting to build your team's agile rituals. Read more about scheduling a meeting.

2. Facilitator and participants

When in the retrospective meeting you have one of the two available roles:

Facilitator, is  a single participant responsible for setting up and driving the meeting.

Facilitator's starting screen of a retrospective meeting

The facilitator's avatar is marked with a darker border color to be easily identified.

Participants, are the rest team members contributing to the retrospective.

Participants starting screen of a retrospective meeting

The facilitator role can be claimed by any member participating in the meeting during any time, to make sure that the meeting can proceed for cases where the facilitator might be un-available or offline.

As participant you can claim facilitation:
  1. In starting screen by using the Claim facilitation button.
  2. Any time of the meeting, using the menu on the top right corner and picking option Claim facilitation.

3. Facilitator setting up the retrospective

The facilitator has some options to set up the retrospective meeting:

Choose activity: by clicking on the Choose activity dropdown located on the left side of the top bar. Navigate the available activities select the one you prefer and click the Apply button to update the retrospective board.

Customize your board: by manually setting up the board. You can modify both columns and swim lanes and set custom names for each. All custom retrospective activities are automatically stored and are available when you click the Choose activity option.

While the facilitator is setting up the retrospective, members are on a wait screen, where they are reminded of action items and notes of the previous team retrospective.

4. Facilitator starting the retrospective

When all participants have joined the retrospective page and you are done setting up the retrospective you can click the Start button located on the top right corner.

A popup will open where you can set a name for your retrospective and choose if notes added by participants will be anonymous or not, default option is for participant's name to be displayed on each note.

5. Communication between the team

In order to coordinate with your remote team members you can use the Chat feature to exchange quick messages, located on the bottom right of the retrospective window.

To use a video conference with your remotees you can add a Video Call URL from the settings next to the Start button.

This input is available to all your team members and anyone can setup the Video Call URL.

Video Call URL is always visible on the bottom of the page in the middle.

6. During the retrospective

The layout focuses on the board areas where members are adding their notes. Each board area has a title with a description below, so that you can understand what notes should be added on that board.

On the header bar you will always see the current, previous and next stage of the retrospective meeting.

These stages are the guiding mechanism that Team O'clock offers in order to have a fruitful session. All retrospective stages are:
  1. Gather notes, where each participants is privately adding notes to the retrospective.
  2. Group notes, where all notes are revealed and the team can edit, group or delete notes and all unknowns are discussed and clarified.
  3. Vote notes, where each participant can vote the notes that finds more important.
  4. Discussion & action items to speak more about each note and conclude to some action items that will help participants move forward as a team.
Facilitator actions during the retrospective

The facilitator has some additional actions and role during the retrospective meeting. The action only a facilitator can perform are:

Change stage: to move the retrospective meeting to the next or previous stage. This action is accessible from the header area, where the facilitator can click on the previous and next stages displayed below the centred current stage.  This action will affect all participants, moving the meeting to the selected stage.

Set stage timer: where the facilitator can define a timer for the current stage of the meeting. This option is available on the bottom left corner of the screen, and the facilitator can set a stage timer in minutes to nudge participants in wrapping up their notes.

To manage a running timer, click on it to view the drop up with the options and either reset the time or remove the timer all together.

The timer is just a visual hint for the participants to know of the available time and will not automatically proceed to the next stage. The meeting facilitator will need to make that action.

Gather notes stage

This is the starting stage of the retrospective where participants are adding their notes in private, without being shared with the others to avoid biasing. During this step all participants add their notes in the respecting board area.

To add a note in a board area click on the the + Add a note link.

To move a note to a different board area simply drag and drop it.

You can edit a note by hovering on the note and clicking the Edit option that appears on the right side of the note. Use this to change board area for a note. Deleting the whole text will remove that note.

When you are done adding your notes you can click the I'm done button on the bottom right corner of your screen. This is the way to notify all participants that you are ready to proceed to the next stage.

Participants that have clicked I'm done at any stage are marked with a green dot under their avatar.

If you are the facilitator of the retrospective once you hit I'm done you will see a new option  saying Next stage.

This option can drive the meeting forward to the next stage for all participants. As the facilitator, you can alternatively click on the next stage that is visible on the header, below the current stage.

Group notes stage

On the grouping stage, all notes are revealed and the team can group or delete duplicate notes as well as discuss and edit the notes that require more clarification.

As the facilitator navigates the team into the Group notes stage, there are some extra options to assist the team on this step:
  1. Order notes per member, to assist in a quick scan or share of the added notes per participant
  2. Automatically group of notes, using AI-Assist to check for similar notes and auto-group them. Auto-grouping works in realtime, so you will see notes being grouped and moved around. Read more about AI-Assist.
To group notes simply drag the duplicate/similar note over the note you want to group it by.

Grouping notes is only allowed in grouping notes stage, so if you are on a next stage and want to change notes grouping you need to ask the facilitator to navigate back to Group notes.

After this step, everyone should have a clear understanding of the board.

Use grouping notes stage to clarify a common understanding across all participants on each note. We strongly suggest that you focus on clarity and avoid debate and discussion over each note before you have voted on the most important items.

Vote notes stage

The main purpose of this step is for participants to vote on the most important notes.

As the facilitator of the meeting, proceeding to Votes stage you will see a popup with some additional options to setup maximum votes per participant and making votes visible while voting, like seen below.

Customization of votes are available only for Standard and Enterprise plans.
Each participant can cast a specific number of votes by clicking on the + badge next to each note. On a section right below the header participants can see the number of available votes they can cast.

Participants can cast more than one votes on a single item to stress its importance. The voted notes are marked with a different color so that you can instantly tell your votes. To revoke a vote click again on the voted note.

Section informing about available votes and voted notes for a participant.

In case of grouped notes, team members can only vote the parent note.

In this step you can still add and edit notes as the retrospective discussion moves forward.

Discussion & action items step

This step focuses on exploring actionable items on the voted notes.

The main area changes again to hold the list of all your notes sorted by votes in one side and an Action items list where you can add your action items and review any action items that are not complete from your previous retrospective meetings.

We are suggesting reviewing and completing any previously open action items before adding any new ones. Participants will feel positive about work and actions they have already done before committing to new action items.

If at any point you want to edit or revisit your notes you need to click the Return to board link.

Additionally, you can copy a note to an action item, by hovering the note of interest and clicking the + Add as action item link on the top right corner of each note.

You can also assign a team member as responsible for carrying out a specific action item. To do that, hover over an action item you added, and click on the link displayed in the bottom left corner of the action item.

It is recommended to add less than 4 action items, so that participants can focus on taking action and not get intimidated by the number of things that need action.

If you have AI-Assist enabled, you will see some suggestions on possible action items. These suggestions are based on the most voted notes from your retrospective. You can get up to 8 suggestions for your retrospective.

7. Completing the retrospective

When you are done with your action items each participant can click the Finish button to complete the retrospective meeting.

When the meeting finishes, all participants will receive an email containing the decided action items and all the retrospective notes.

With AI-Assist enabled, you will also get a summary of your retrospective in the received email as well as in the rertospective analysis on your Timeline.

Action items and integrations

Facilitators can see an extra summary screen when completing the retrospective. This screen is available if you have an active integration that allows you to turn action items into tasks or issues in your third party service.

The facilitator can hover an action item and click on the checkbox at the left to select it. Then click on the respecting integration button to import selected action items to the integration of choice.

In case there is no need for an import, click the Close button, located on the right side of the action items card, to exit this view.

8. Restarting the retrospective

In case you are the facilitator and want to restart the meeting you can do so from the options dropdown next to the main action button.

When a retrospective restarts all previous notes are lost!

Additional options

While in retrospective meeting you can also view your team's previous action items, by using the menu or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + I.

Previous action items will be displayed as an overlay box coming from the right of the screen, containing both open and closed action items.

The meeting facilitator can invite more members in the session by clicking the avatar with the "+" icon in the members list, on the top right of the header section.

You can either invite a member of your team that has already an account on Team O'clock, or invite a colleague via email.

Retrospective expiration

All retrospectives have a default expiration time, measured in days. Expiration days assure that you and your team don't have a meeting running too long and that you will have a record of the meeting progress even if you haven't completed all the retrospective steps.

When Expiration days elapse, the retrospective meeting is automatically completed, and all participants receive an email with all the current action items

Expiration days are days that a retrospective has no activity, so any of the following actions will reset the Expiration days:
  1. Any of the members visiting the retrospective meeting in their browser
  2. Any of the members adding, modifying, or voting a note
  3. The facilitator visiting the page and progressing  to a different step
 Expiration days is a customization option in the team management interface.

Setting or changing video call URL

To use a video conference with your remotees you can setup a Video Call Link from the options dropdown on the left of the main button.

This input is available to all your team members and anyone can setup the Video Call URL. You can type and use any video service you are already using.

To access the setup Video Call URL use the link displayed in the middle on the bottom of the page.

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