“The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.”
Not only focusing on the things that didn’t work so well, but especially looking back at achievements and progressions contributes greatly to the success and advancement of companies. Therefore, conducting a regular retrospective meeting plays a crucial role in agile company management.
What is a retrospective meeting?
Generally, the word “retrospective” comes from latin retrospectare and means “look back”. It simply describes a recall of events that took place and exists in all kinds of forms. Retrospectives can take place by talking to a friend in a café about past events, by writing a journal or going for a walk and thinking about personal achievements and also failures of the past days or weeks.
These forms of retrospectives occur rather on the spur of the moment. In contrast to that, agile managed companies hold retrospective meetings on a regular basis. They are an inherent part of scrum, an agile management framework. A retrospective meeting is supposed to make the team of a company look back at the past 4 weeks and review them. What was good, what went wrong, were there any problems or tensions and how were the team members feeling? The goal is to find out whether there can be made any improvements concerning the daily processes, the working atmosphere or whatever is bothering the members of the team. Ideally, the meeting leads to changes that improve how the team works going forward. From conducting the meeting in a meeting room to relocating it to a lake – everything is possible. At least for Hubton, the most important thing for a retrospective meeting is clear: Having fun!
Retrospective Meetings at Hubton
So once in a month, the Hubton Team leaves their computers turned off and puts their work aside for a day. The retrospective meeting is not only supposed to talk about work and continuous improvement. It is also about making the team grow together and providing a carefree and relieving time to the team members. Therefore, Hubton doesn’t conduct its retrospective meetings at the office, but at various locations like cafés or natural places. After arriving at the location and unpacking snacks or ordering drinks, the meeting can begin! There are numerous ways to discuss and reflect on the past month and its projects. At Hubton, we have decided to write down at least four things that either make us happy, anxious or angry about work as well as any achievements, suggestions or “love letters” to Hubton. Then we collect them and pin them on designated papers. After that we read them out loud and can most of the time guess who the note is from. Finally, the according person can explain what he/she means or feels about the topics he/she has written down.
The result is amazing! It gets visible how everybody has made significant improvements and progressions over the past month. A retrospective meeting reveals the challenges and problems the team members have been or still are facing. But it also highlights and acknowledges the achievements and improvements the whole team has made over time. By analyzing and exchanging thoughts about different topics and talking about possible changes and suggestions together, solutions for any problems the team members are dealing with can be found. And most importantly, the whole team can feel how it is constantly growing closer together.
To summarize the retrospective meetings at Hubton in a few words: a lot of laughs, clearing conversations, support, a great view, snacks and drinks and all in all a great way to end a month and start motivated into the following one!