Lesson 1: How to get started with Retrospectives

Welcome to the training! You can start the training by watching the video lesson below.

In the lesson we will be making use of one of my Miro templates, which you can copy with the button below.


Copy the Miro template

Do you want to master Retrospectives?

Then check out my full Retrospectives course.

Video Transcript

How to get started with Retrospectives

Welcome to the first lesson of your free retrospective training!

After this course, you will feel prepared and ready to facilitate your first retro. We will do that in three lessons:

  1. Get started with retrospectives.
  2. Make retrospectives feel less intimidating.
  3. Learn how to facilitate engaging retrospectives.

I like to make things practical and help you learn by doing. So we will use one of my Miro Retrospective templates to explain the concepts, and I will teach you what works and how it works.

This course is for you if:

You've never done a retrospective before and want to learn the basics.

You've facilitated a couple of retrospectives before but want to learn how to make them more engaging.

So, let's get started!

Get started with Retrospectives

In this first lesson, we will get started with retrospectives, by looking at the benefits of retrospectives, good versus bad retrospectives, and how to handle imposter syndrome that you might be feeling about retros.

What are retrospectives?

Retrospectives are a proven way to build healthy team habits and break bad ones. Running frequent retrospectives allows you and your team to try and improve 1% every day.

Do that for a year and at the end of the year, everyone from your team will have improved 37 times.

Benefits of retrospectives

The benefits of retrospectives are that they help to improve the relationships in your team and foster team communication and collaboration. They are a proactive way to identify and solve problems quickly before they turn into larger issues.

That allows your team to do more of what's working well, and do less of what doesn't work, leading to higher team productivity and morale.

I have included a Miro board that you can copy below this video, that allows you to write down for yourself what benefits retrospectives might bring to you and your team. If you want to, you can click pause and do the exercise right now, or you can also do it after finishing the video first because there is another exercise in there that I will explain in a bit

Good vs Bad retrospectives

But first, let's talk about good versus bad retrospectives.

There are two types of retrospectives:

1. The retrospective that no one wants to be in, because it's ineffective and people feel like their time is wasted.

2. The retrospective that your team actually looks forward to, because it's fun, helpful, and leads to real change.

Luckily, you can identify bad retros pretty easily, and you can do something about it with the steps you will learn in this training.

So you might recognize some of these signs of bad retrospectives:

1. No one wants to be in the retrospective.

2. People are joining the retro, but are disengaged and not participating.

3. Or, the retrospective is focused on complaining and bashing

4. And people are leaving the retrospective feeling angry or frustrated because of that.

You will learn how you can flip this around by making the retrospective something everyone on the team is looking forward to. Enabling the whole team to be engaged and actively participating in retros, and focused on problem-solving. So that people leave the retro feeling energized and ready to on any challenge.

In the Miro board, that I mentioned before, you can also find an exercise to list some signs that you see happening in your team, that you can take into account. So go ahead and list to signs right away, or first watch the last part of this video and then do the exercise.

How to handle imposter syndrome

Okay, now this last part is about imposter syndrome, that you might feel about facilitating a meeting like a retrospective.

When starting out, the idea to facilitate a retrospective can feel scary and overwhelming. And the idea of facilitating regular retrospectives, every week, feels even scarier.

That's what's called imposter syndrome, and I definitely felt it when I started out.

The first time I facilitated a retrospective, I was so nervous that my hands were shaking. And the whole time I was thinking "everyone is going to think I'm an imposter, they are going to see right through me".

But here's the thing: no one is expecting you to be perfect and solve all the problems of your team. And all your teammates want to achieve the goals you have for your team. So just take a deep breath and know that you can do this.

Being the facilitator of a retrospective means that you enable your team to solve problems together.

By preparing a well-thought-out moment together with each other, you allow your teammates to think through problems that you're facing and solve them together.

On top of that, retrospectives are also a moment to celebrate what's going well in the team and how you can do more of that. Who doesn't like the good vibes that give, right?

So, what's important is that you show up as yourself, be authentic, and be curious.

The retrospective is not about you, it's about the team. And as long as you keep that in mind, you will be just fine.

I have included one more exercise in the Miro board, where I have included some common signs of imposter syndrome. You can use that and some of the examples to get past imposter syndrome.

Remember that being able to facilitate retrospectives is a superpower that will allow you to help yourself and your team be more productive and will advance your career.

That's it for this lesson. In this lesson, you learned how to make it easier to get started with retrospectives. In the next lesson, you will learn more about how to make retrospectives less intimidating, and in the final lesson, you will learn what's needed to facilitate engaging retros.

Don't forget to make a copy of the Miro template below and do the exercises, because that will really help you feel more prepared. If you have any questions, then just hit reply on the email that I sent you for this lesson.


Do you want to master Retrospectives?

Then check out my full Retrospectives course.