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For the past month, we've sent an email once a week with our research, recommended reading, and one manageable step to take to get started with conducting retros at work, based on our independent review of the best tools. Read the first three installments here:

Today, let’s talk about conducting your first retrospective and tips for success.


Now that you have your retro tool and board set up, it’s time to facilitate your first retro. Here are some tips and tricks to making it a productive experience with your team.

To keep the discussion on track:

  • Be careful not to dwell too heavily on things outside of the team’s control. Ensure you track these problems, and consider bringing them to others who may be able to help, but don’t  let the meeting become a ranting session.
  • Make sure everyone participates by adding ideas and upvoting on the board. As much as your schedule allows, provide ample time to make sure no one feels too rushed to contribute.

To keep participants engaged:

  • Ask different participants to be in charge of explaining or summarizing the ideas that received the most upvotes.
  • Make sure everyone has cameras on unless there is a specific accommodation you’re making for a team member. Seeing peoples’ faces is helpful to notice reactions to ideas or discussions.
  • Encourage a social element, such as suggesting everyone bring a beverage or food or adding in a fun game once conversation has wrapped to celebrate everyone’s hard work on the project being discussed.

To keep the team accountable:

  • Ensure improvement actions are tracked and monitored. Agree as a team on their prioritization, and make clear who’s in charge of making sure the action item happens (even though the whole team is responsible for making an improvement, it’s helpful to name a single owner).
  • Make those agreed-upon improvements visible, whether in Slack, on a task board, or via email.

This week, take a manageable step toward bringing retrospectives to your team:

  • Facilitate your retro and report back to us on how it went.

Congrats! You’ve completed our Work Tech Support guide on retro tools. Email us at to let us know how it went.