How to Run a Killer Project Retrospective - Docket

How to Run a Killer Project Retrospective

When it comes to the world of project management, it is essential to make sure that everyone takes the time to reflect on the project and see what was done well and what can be improved. When teams take the time to think about some of their previous projects, they place themselves in a position to learn from what went well and what could have improved. One common meeting to facilitate this process is a project retrospective.

What Is a Project Retrospective?

A project retrospective is a process where the team reflects on the project and looks for ways to become more effective as a team. The Agile Manifesto states, “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” Ultimately, the goal is to get the team to find a way to work better. 

Regardless of whether a project was finished or closed early, it has become a best practice for teams to take the time to carry out various project retrospectives throughout the project instead of just at the end. This allows the team to improve its ability to work together continuously. 

Conduct a Retrospective

When conducting a project retrospective, remember that the goal is to figure out the key lessons learned from a project. A project retrospective agenda template can capture these comments to help teams apply them to future processes. Keep in mind all team members should show up for the project retrospective. For the team to work well together, everyone should be invited to share their thoughts and opinions. There are three questions that everyone should be prepared to answer:

  1. What went well? 
  2. What didn’t go well? 
  3. What can we improve next time?

These simple questions create opportunities for meaningful introspection and can allow teams to iterate and improve quickly. When the whole team is in this process together, the results are going to be better.

Project Retrospective Ideas

There are several ways that everyone can make their project retrospective agendas more effective. Some of the key points to keep in mind include:

  • Meeting Notes: take a look at the notes from the project meetings that might have taken place. Ideally, the team has had several meetings during its time together, and someone took notes. Take a look at the records and look for common themes. (Meeting management software like Docket can help with this!)
  • Using a Survey: It is also helpful to use something called a project retrospective survey. Instead of using the time during the meeting to collect ideas, send out a review survey beforehand. This survey can be used to collect everyone’s thoughts and ideas prior to the meeting, especially for those team members who may prefer to do their thinking in writing and not on the spot. Then, when the team comes together, they will be ready to start discussions on them or expansions/extensions on those ideas.
  • Share the Meeting notes: Finally, it is also good to share any meeting notes from the retrospective template with the company’s leadership. This is important for maintaining transparency. Furthermore, if the company knows the team is working hard to improve, they are more likely to let the process play out.

Run an Effective Retrospective

It is vital for everyone who works as a team member to take steps to improve how teams work together. A project retrospective template can help everyone do exactly that. By taking the time to review these ideas, everyone will have their voice heard. Docket offers a free trial so you can start putting Retrospectives to work for your team today.

About the Author

Heather Hansson

Heather is VP of Product and Chief of Staff at Docket. She enjoys leading cross-functional teams to work together on vision, strategy, and implementing solutions that help people work and live better. When she isn’t helping rid the world of wasteful meetings with Docket, Heather likes to run, take violin lessons with her son, and spend time with her family.

Related Content

Docket is no longer in service. Thank you to all of our customers for letting us help you make meetings awesome!