November 19

Use product retrospectives to keep up healthy teamwork

It’s healthy for the members of a product team to have different ideas on how to approach their work. But it can quickly become unhealthy if that team doesn’t take time occasionally to pause and discuss how things are going and what changes they’d like to make. That’s where product retrospectives come in. Here are some suggestions on how to lead a retrospective so that you can keep your team working together in a healthy manner.

11 Ways to improve your retrospectives. A retrospective is a meeting held for the purpose of reflecting on the product development or workflow process. The aim of a retrospective is to look closely at the processes and products produced during a sprint, discuss these as a team, and decide on a way forward together to drive constant improvement. Joanne Perold shares 11 top tips to make your retros successful.

(via @agile42)

How to lead a product retrospective. A product marketer’s job doesn’t stop when a product is out the door, but product marketing teams do tend to be very launch-focused. These launches provide a great cadence for product marketing teams and can be a good frequency for product retrospectives. Jeffrey Vocell provides some guidance for leading a product retrospective that applies to product marketers, or any product person who wants to reflect on their product development work and find opportunities for improvement.

(via @PMMalliance)

Data-Informed Retrospectives. One of the key steps in running an effective retrospective is gathering data. Unfortunately many product teams either err in spending too little or too much time collecting data. If they don’t spend enough time, they lack vital information to reflect on. If they spend too much time, they have little capacity to analyze the data and come to conclusions on how to best improve as a team. The folks at Age of Product explain how you can avoid falling victim to both scenarios by gathering data for your retrospective continuously and asynchronously.

(via @ageofproduct)

Remote retrospectives: 11 Tips for leading retros remotely.  Retrospectives can be an incredibly helpful tool, giving teams an opportunity to bond, learn, and grow together. But as anyone who has participated in a less-than-productive retrospective can attest, not all retrospectives are created equal. Engaging in a healthy, open discussion about what went well, what didn’t, and how to improve next time, can be tricky. Doing it remotely (as many teams have learned in the past year) adds another layer of challenges. Alex Glabman shares 11 tips for running an effective retrospective when everyone is somewhere else.

(via @planview)

The blame game retrospective. Retrospectives can be a powerful tool for adjusting your product team’s approaches, but they can also be detrimental to your team’s effectiveness. Stefan Wolpers describes one scenario where retrospectives become counter-productive that he refers to as the “blame game retrospective”.

(via @StefanW)

Kent J McDonald

About the author

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just in time resources for product people at and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.


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