Twice a year our company comes together to do a company-wide Retrospective.
We use an annonymous sprintboard, every Retro is lead by a different team member, and on it we answer 3 simple questions:
- What went right?
- What went wrong?
- What can we do, to do better next time?
We started the company retros 2.5 years ago and it has now become a key ritual in our company, one that allows the space to look back and celebrate the wins, recognize areas where we need to do better and together we come with proposals on how to tackle those opportunities.
Retros were not a new thing at Leaf, the Product team had been doing it as part of our agile process; but doing a company-wide Retro was an upgrade, a way for us to think introspectively on how we were doing as a company and how we could do things better.
At Leaf, Retros are not about the people, they are about the actions, the lack of them, the wins or the missed chances and we look at them, independently, in a constructive fashion. At Leaf, company Retros are a company activity where all can and are expected to pitch in.
Retros are for learning, not for pointing fingers; as with everything, the more Retros you do the better they become, the more impact they generate, the more constructive they become.
Retros are something we all feel very proud of and looking backwards I can say it is one of the key reasons we were able to pivot through, stay together during the hard times and tackle the challenges with success.
Retros can be a difficult pill to swallow especially if you are used to taking things personally, but for a moment, twice a year, we all disconnect from it and see the forest for the trees, accept we are all there wanting to make things better and only by confronting the elephants in the room is that we can function like a well-oiled machine.
Retros help us put things in perspective, putting the good and the bads in the table so we can scale them up against each other and realise of their real impact, allowing us a new perspective for next time up.
Retros are a celebration of progress, because a good retro should push you forward.
Today watching an interview of Tina Fey with David Letterman they commented:
The giddiness of a completely successful performance is never as great as the misery of one that you think is a bomb… highs are not as high as the lows.Tina Fey, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman
Retros are a good way to realise the value of both.