Do you think you learn from your past mistakes and avoid the upcoming future mistakes? If you have been running a product-based business, but your business is new, you might have heard of a retrospective meeting that you need to arrange after shipping the products. In this article, I have come up with the most relevant and appropriate information on retrospective meetings, and you need to know this information. It includes general information about these meetings and their benefits and obstacles. We will cover all these points in detail. If you are ready to know about the retrospective, let us start with it.
What Is Meant By Retrospective Meeting?
In simple words, a retrospective is a type of meeting, and it is held after the shipping of products. These meetings aim to discuss happenings during the production, development, and release process. These meetings have the main goal to see improved things in the future, based on the learnings and conversations.
Know About Agile Retrospective:
Have you observed that most people do not learn from their past mistakes and probably repeat their mistakes in the future? It applies to various disciplines, and product development is also a process where most people repeat some mistakes. But when there is an agile environment, the focus is to release quickly and start worrying about what is next. It means that there is not a lot of or enough discussion about what is there. So the agile retrospective will force the whole team to pause it, reflect on whatever is transpired and start discussing what has worked and what not during a particular project.
The format of the meeting is the primary key for an efficient retrospective meeting. The reason is that we can see the values from the conversations and dialogues. It is not seen through a bunch of individual statements.
What Does It Include?
The retrospective meeting includes the representatives of all groups. (if they are not present, the whole team is there). Everyone has the time and space to share their opinions, points of view, and experiences. They can discuss sales, marketing, customer service, and operations representatives as well.
Similarly, they have to point out problems and flaws that have arisen. Participants are encouraged equally to provide positive aspects, and the meeting has to be a safe space to bring up contentious issues and contrarian views to make it as insightful and productive as possible.
Who Can Lead a Retrospective Meeting?
Mostly, product management leads these meetings because of having the most cross-functional role in their organization. They also have a broader view of what has happened in the project. They can also use an impartial and impactful third-party facilitator to ensure they have treated everyone equally and given a fair share of the floor time.
What Should Be The Outcomes Of A Retrospective Meeting?
Retrospectives must have prepared a list of What Went Well and What Can Be Improved. However, these lists are not long and exhaustive to proceed. Still, all projects will have a few standouts in each column. The aim of managing these meetings is to understand this thing. That is how we can replicate the positives in future projects by creating and establishing new practices. And at the same time, identifying the root cause for all those negatives to prevent them or possibly mitigate them from continuing.
It has the next goal. That is to address the occasional massive issues and focus on incremental improvements for existing habits and processes. Also, a retrospective does not aim to find the fault in individuals and lay blame, but it has to have a goal to discuss what best everyone can do next time.
It has to be ensured that no person has singled or left alone, and there is no one out to be defensive. Thus, arranging retrospectives must explore all aspects of all projects. It starts with the requirements of the projects and finishes at the execution of the marketing plan. It includes discussing various topics like scheduling, documentation, communication, testing, and resource allocating.
The Responsibility Of Participants After The Meeting:
Participants attending a retrospective meeting must go with a better sense of how they all experienced the project. They can find it as an opportunity to support their customers and solve their issues and complaints. They can cover as many topics and issues as they can to address them. It is their duty and responsibility to encourage themselves and others to bring out the ideas and solutions when retrospectives give them ways to discuss more mistakes and faults to improve in the future. They can stay dedicated to look back on what happened, see in the present to know what is happening and see in the future to understand what they can improve.
What Should Be The Frequency Of Retrospectives & How Often You Can Arrange?
Some may have doubts about how frequently they can arrange the retrospectives. There is no hard and fast rule to manage the number of retrospective meetings. But one thing all companies should consider. This consideration is that before employees and team members forget about the projects, there is a requirement to arrange the meeting. In general, this time is considered as less than a week of shipping the project. You have to finish the discussion within a week of shipping the products. Also, each project deserves a separate meeting to discuss it. It means that an organization can organize frequent meetings for individual projects.
What Are The Benefits Of A Retrospective Meeting?
You can keep retrospectives limited to one or two topics, but to address more faults, you can discuss more points because retrospectives can provide many benefits. Like you can meet those goals that you might have missed and many others I have covered here.
Retrospectives Bring Transparency:
You may have heard that top management has to have trust in leaders. And have beliefs for the future success of the organization. It becomes possible with a meaningful retrospective. Transparency is the key to the successful business management and efficient moves of all leaders. Everyone has to know what others are doing and about their role.
It Brings A Communicative & Collaborative Environment:
For any organization, a collaborative environment and communicative environment are must to keep the flow. If you think there is only one person in your organization that knows how it works, it is undesirable for the organization, and there has to be a collaborative approach and easy communications to let employees work on others’ tasks.
It Identifies Issues Quickly:
Arranging a retrospective meeting will identify the issues early, and you can reshape and control the outcomes. Thus, it becomes an excellent tool to mitigate and prevent risks after finishing the projects.
It Pinpoints The Process Improvements:
You can say it is the most important benefit of it. It can form the improvement that you process. It encourages Constant Education and Improvement and Serves as a tool to process continuous improvement.
Common Obstacles Of Retrospectives:
Anything you do in the organization most probably gets proceed through various obstacles. It also applies while arranging a retrospective meeting, and it is no longer an easy task. Here I have covered the Obstacles that retrospectives will have.
Failing To Understand The Purpose Of It:
Several teams get together for retrospectives and discuss a few issues on the surface level. They disassemble and call it a retrospective. Is it so? No. You can’t call it a retrospective if your team members can not understand what has happened and how it can improve. Thus, reminding teams about the purpose of the meeting at the start is essential.
More Opinions & Feedbacks From The Members:
If there are too many cooks in the kitchen, the work may have a disturbance. Similarly, if several participants have been involved and giving their opinions or feedback, you may be unable to handle these many suggestions and advice.
Insufficient Tools For Running Your Retrospective:
If you prioritize your tasks, you must have the right tools to work on them. It is what you can call strategic management. You require one thing to capture and organize all the feedback from the team. And it is a tool. Retrospectives mean investing the precious time of your team members. But they do not like it if they see their reflection, feedback, and opinions lost.
Fail To Evaluate Ideas:
You finish your meeting with a million ideas, but if you do not have a viable executing plan to improve the past mistakes, it proves that you have failed to evaluate.
Lack Of Management Of Teammates:
Most teammates do not always openly show their work and lodge complaints. If you still want them to be involved, you may waste your time, resources, and their time.
If you have been running a new product-based business, your company needs to arrange a retrospective meeting. You can understand What Went Well and What Can Be Improved from retrospectives. But you should make sure your teammates know the purpose of the meeting to get better outcomes from the retrospectives.