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Simplified retrospectives for distributed development teams

How we run retrospectives with distributed teams at Favro

In my previous post, I wrote about how we organise our distributed development teams in Favro. In this post, I wanted to talk a little about how we run efficient retrospectives despite having team members spread out across Sweden, Ukraine and Vietnam.

The short answer? Why, of course, we mix Favro with Skype.

Each team member connects to our group Skype call and then opens up Favro in their browser or on their phone. Typically their view will be something like this during the retrospective:

favro team retrospective board
  • We take advantage of Favro’s relations feature to know which team member has put up a Start/Stop/Continue card. You can see here that I’m a happy camper about our recent hack days.
  • Each team can keep their own notes private. This simulates the traditional silent post-it note writing, with the added advantage that team members can build their retrospective notes as and when they come up during the sprint rather than having great ideas that are forgotten by the time the retrospective rolls around.
  • Thanks to the real-time collaborative aspect of Favro, every team member can see the cards appear on their own screens as if we were running a physical post-it retrospective.
  • We can easily drag and re-organise the cards before diving into a deeper discussion around themes.
  • After each retrospective, it is often my decision if we are going to turn anything into an action point. The great thing with already having these cards in Favro, is I’m able to immediately drag them into our backlog and assign a point person for those points we will act upon. This helps reduce the chance of retrospective points not becoming actionable and gives the original proposer the added happiness at seeing their card being acted upon.

Do you work with distributed development teams? How do you run retrospectives? Curious to experiment with running a retrospective with Favro? It is completely free to sign up now and try for yourself.

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