Product Managers, how do you do retros effectively while working remotely?

Sharath Kuruganty
30 replies


rinas 🧑‍💻
We have monthly retros with everyone on the team: 1. what went well 2. what we could improve 3. what's something that didn't go well then also have 1:1 calls
David J. Kim
@onerinas By 1:1 calls do you mean you with your whole team one by one afterwards? Or is it done between people?
Erbil Yaman
We auto-set up a bi-weekly recurring non-anonymous retro survey from teamble on Slack ( We publish the results a day before the meeting so everyone can read each other's retro feedback about the sprint even if we are all remote and in different time zones. When we get together at the retro meeting, we do a round-robin and everyone shares their comments; adds further details beyond what they said in the survey but the survey becomes a good remote tool to bring everyone on the same page and be a core artifact of the discussion.
Michael Silber
A few things (these aren't exactly remote-specific)... 1. Make sure there is an open document for anyone on the team to drop in topics for discussion before the meeting begins. Then we can take some time to read those comments at the top of the meeting and vote on which ones to tackle first 2. Make sure at the end of the call that any changes we suggest are assigned to a specific person to carry out (if this is a regular retrospective, we make sure that we actually tried our suggestions from the last retro). 3. Ensure that everyone speaks
Bharat Pasam
@product_at_producthunt Thanks! very practical advice. My team does exactly this...before the pandemic we did Bartros (Bar+Retro), and they were fun :-)
Mohamed Ali
check out our virtual innovation studio for PI, sprint plannings, workshops and retros
Orsi Fanni Nemeth
I prefer miro and zoom / meets. And I am highly against having a tool that collects ideas during the iteration - I believe that the person will remember which really matters. No other special things are needed, just have an honest conversation - as you would in person - with cameras on.
I use Miro; or we talk about how we feel, what we want to improve, what didn’t work well, what we want more of / what we want to avoid and how we could do it. Sometimes if it’s quite on remote, its good to push it by guessing everything is super and we just go on like the last sprint, how would you feel about this… this normally does the trick. Other chance is to talk about others doing retros or how they benefit (form YouTube, LinkedIn, ted) from feedback in general. You could also add a funny note, by telling someone how much you appreciate something, that you wanted to be different… be creative. Or - get a scrum master or scrum master equivalent to help you
Bharat Pasam
Retros are extremely important for an agile team and can destroy team morale if not done correctly. Most of my teams have always been remote, even before the pandemic. Conceptually the process is the same, even if remote. Setup a team Zoom call, use a digital collaboration tool (Mural ) to gather feedback independently from each team member for the first 10-15 mins without any peer-to-peer interaction. Then discuss each item of feedback with the team and see if something needs to be improved. If yes, then take action items and make sure to act on them in the short term. Thoughts?
David J. Kim
@bharatpasam Interesting that you start without any peer to peer interaction. How has that helped your retros?
Bharat Pasam
@between_team The main reason is to avoid the most vocal team members dictating what needs to be discussed. When we do it separately, then all the items get on the board, and then we discuss as a team. Hope this helps.
David J. Kim
@vijai_mani Interesting. What do you like about it?
Vijai Mani
@between_team simple, free, templates, timer and can see what others are writing only when they share. Just tailored to retros! :)
Komal Narwani
Retrospectives are put in place to ensure that people are able to have an effective chamber to voice their opinions about what went wrong, well, and could go better - here's what we do: 1) Biweekly check-ins (Following Google's 5 part framework for team collaboration) - I have measured each of the metrics: dependability, meaning, impact, structure and clarity and psychological safety for the team over the last year 2) Team Kudos: a great way to encourage team members to give props to each other for what they learnt from each other (held every 3 weeks) 3) General check-in's/flag's when people want to express themselves more privately and/or anonymously
Burak Kantarcı
We've recently tried Figma's FigJam for our retro. I guess the team liked it and shared useful insights!
Alexandru Stan
We do weekly retros over slack. We experiment with loom videos recordings on these weekly retros. And we do monthly retros over zoom/whereby.
We use ClickUp (Kanban) view which allows us to clearly review and assess what happened/went well/went wrong/what needs to happen. Makes for a simple and efficient process!
Valerie Borshch
@medik can tell you more about it. He's got a solution for online whiteboarding and team collaboration
Nickolay Gavrilev
We have a Miro board for this purposes, where we track all the outcomes of current sprint. It really comes handy when you on a remote.
Kavir Kaycee
Usually have a live session on Miro or Figma and use sticky notes to bucket points in three categories: - START doing - CONTINUE doing - STOP doing Review those points in the next retro and update accordingly.
Sunjay Pandey
Tried to post this earlier, so apologies if its a dupe. The key to retros (and feedback in general) is for the team to feel safe in giving that feedback (psychological safety). This has become harder in many cases in a remote/distributed environment, so you have to work hard to establish trust. Turns out trust comes through vulnerability. When a "leader" (regardless of level) ... says: "wow, I really messed x up, and I want to do better" it tends to establish an environment that its okay to make mistakes and learn from them. Tom Peters (considered the papa of modern business/leadership writing) was recently interviewed by Daniel Pink on his 1-3-20 podcast on his recent book which explores this topic. If you lead big or small teams or are an influencer in your day-to-day work (basically all of us) ... its a worthy listen. Spotify -- Apple --
robiul haque
Create a safe space, Make retrospectives a habit, Don’t forget to look at the positives, Think outside the office, Bring in backup, Sometimes your product retrospective meetings need retrospectives of their own and many more.
Margo Darbyshire is an awesome online retrospective tool