The Tricky Retrospective

The Tricky Retrospective

In order to work as a well-functioning team, you occaisionally need to get things off your chest. There will always be gripes and things that frustrate you about the way that things are set up that stop you getting on with your work as well as you can. Team get-togethers are great as an opportunity to surface and tackle things like this. However, the mechanisms by which the problems are surfaced need to be carefully moderated, to make sure they are solution-oriented and not just rants.

Luckily - Dirk Slater came up with a fantastic format for us to both allow people to surface things they were worried about and give them agency to think about how they could help to be part of the change they want to see. I would recommend this incredibly flexible format to anyone and will use it again and again!

How it works

  1. Give everyone post-it notes and sharpies
  2. Ask them two, two-part questions:

a) What do you appreciate about the current situation / setup? What could you do to maximise the benefit it brings?

b) What would you like to change about the current sitation / setup? Which of the issues is it in our power to change and which of the issues would be difficult for us to change? I gave people green and red sticky dots to stick to their post-it notes to classify by which of the two scenarios they thought it corresponded to. Green = can change. Red = Difficult to change.

Pleasing outcomes

I was really delighted to see that actually - a lot of the problems were given green sticky dots (i.e. people thought we could change them) and there were very few red-dot problems. The team started brainstorming then and there solutions to some of the problems and said it was a really great session to get things off their chest. Result.

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