How to set up your retrospectives for success! Set the stage in 30 seconds or less.

How you start anything is how you’ll finish, So it’s never a good idea to start your retrospective off on the wrong foot.

Think of a bad meeting you’ve had in the past, how did that meeting start?

Probably not so good right…

Whether it was boring, or just plain awful.

Now think of an amazing meeting you’ve been to in the past – how did that meeting start?

Well, it was probably very engaging and exciting!

The first 30 seconds of that meeting hooked you in and put everyone on the path towards being productive.

That’s exactly why the first 30 seconds of any meeting is important.

Especially in a retrospective meeting where there are opportunities to think, share ideas, problem-solve and improve as a team – you want people to be engaging.

So here’s a quick little checklist for your first 30 seconds of running retrospectives.

  1. Set up the room – presentation, physical appearance, technology up and running if being used, food, snacks, and drinks.

  2. SMILE!!! Be open, be present, be focussed, assuming that’s what you want from them. Say hello, ask them how they are. Be human.

  3. A one-word check-in – either use how they are feeling today or have them explain the last sprint in one word. To mix things up try using a reference such as a movie character, song or food. Or if you prefer, just get everyone to give a number from 1 to 10. The point is to know the mood of all the participants.

  4. Set the tone, be explicit about what you would love to have the team do today and how they should do it.

  5. Explain the focus of your retrospective topics. Don’t assume that everyone will know what you mean from your headings on each topic.

That’s 30 seconds! Okay, so the reality is, there are things you have to do behind the scenes to make your first 30 seconds work, but it takes a little effort to make a good impression, which can go a long way to helping your team feel engaged, energized and cared for.

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