The Power of Personal and Team Retrospectives

Bobbie Shrivastav

Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Benekiva



In the Agile project management world retrospective is a ritual which is conducted at the end of a specified work iteration. The goal of a retrospective is for individuals on the team to reflect back on the iteration, and provide feedback on how the work was completed and on the team's processes. Out of the discussion, the team aligns on goals to improve and also typically comprises of practices the individuals/teams will start, stop, or continue. As entrepreneurs, are you pausing periodically and retrospecting with yourself and/or your team on improvements?

Actions taken

To demonstrate, I have weekly retrospectives with myself and I time-box it to 30 minutes. Here is the format:

  • Step 1 - Brainstorm on the following: Went Well, Went Bad, One-Time Occurrences. This can be personal, business related, other initiatives, etc. Remember - the reason for retrospectives is to continuously improve.
  • I take 10 minutes to document - sometimes I use sticky notes and a white board or I use google docs with the categories.
  • Step 2 - Reflect on the list and choose top 2 from each category. Delete or tear apart the others. Take 5 minutes to do this activity.
  • Step 3 - Out of the document items, take 5 minutes to develop goals on what to start, stop, and continue. Take 5 minutes for this activity.
  • Step 4 - Out of all of the goals, choose 1 from each bucket (start, stop, and continue) that will make the most impact for the upcoming week. Take 5 minutes for this activity.
  • Step 5 - Create action steps for each of the goals. Take 5 minutes for this activity.

Lessons learned

  • Why retrospective? Personally, it gives me focus, clarity, and allows for scheduled reflection time. It helps me reflect on activities that went amazingly well - i.e. I tried a different 30 secs elevator pitch that got me 2 new leads; things that went poorly- i.e. Time slipped by on Tuesday and couldn't workout; one-time occurrence - i.e. I shouldn't have went to an event at XYZ place - not my target audience. I'm a big believer in setting goals and adjusting along the way. Retrospectives are a way to continuously reflect on goals so that you can create, modify, or remove ones that don't bring you closer to your vision.
  • Why time-box? Time = money. This should be a quick check-in. Without time-boxing you can either overspend- which can result in wasting time, or under-spend- which may not lead you to activities that can help you or your initiatives.
  • Why weekly retrospectives? In fact, they don't have to be weekly. You can do this bi-weekly, monthly, etc. This is your continuous improvement plan. Schedule it based on your frequency preference.
  • Whether you are a team of one or 10, having regular retrospectives are an important method to inspect ways of working, and adapting to propel you and your business to achieve greater outcomes. Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/power-retrospecting-bobbie-shrivastav-mba-pmp-pmi-acp-csm-csp/

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Bobbie Shrivastav

Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Benekiva

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