Frequently Asked Questions

The basics: retrospectives

What is an agile retrospective?

Agile retrospectives (retro for short) are regular, small team workshops. They offer teams the opportunity to reflect on current events and behaviors in short, iterative cycles - usually every 2 weeks. 

In essence, a retro answers the following 3 questions: What has worked well in the past few weeks? What didn't work out so well? What will we do differently from now on - and how?

What is an agile retrospective Not?

A retrospective with Echometer is:

... no nonsense meeting: If no concrete wishes for action items are found or nobody is interested in them, then retros are a waste of time.

... no blame game: Retros are not there to shift responsibility or blame others for negative events or developments. Let everybody be part of the solution!

... no employee survey: A retro with Echometer has nothing to do with huge questionnaire packages, meaningless results or a “complaint box”. Retros are close to the action, short, effective - and above all: for you! The goal is that you can slow down and reflect on everyday work for a moment - in the end, what counts is that you benefit from it.

Why have retrospectives at all?

Probably the most decisive factor that illustrates the current relevance of retrospectives is the change in our VUCA world. But how do you manage to overcome the challenges this poses for companies as a team, and help shape the change instead of always having to react to it? The retrospective builds on this task precisely by providing a basis for ...

  • ... self-reflection within your team, both in terms of positive and negative aspects
  • … active involvement and equally valued opinions of all team members
  • ... an initiation of mutually generated and accepted ideas for improvement.

Through questions that require frankness in retros and monitoring of the measures, the goal of improved cooperation can be achieved effectively in the long term.

Who are retrospectives for?

Retrospectives are suitable for any team that wants to continuously improve. Even if retrospectives are often carried out in connection with agile working frameworks, they can also be done completely independently.

Experience shows that optimal (but not required) prerequisites for good team retros are:

  • A familiar atmosphere: Team members know each other and have regular contact with each other at work, or joint projects on which they are working.
  • An existing feedback culture in the team: A basis for being able to address critical issues within the team.
  • A Growth Mindset: Each tam member is willing to development themselves, and support other team members with their feedback in their continued development.

Who takes part in a retrospective?

A retrospective typically takes place at a team level (of approx. 3 - 15 members). All team members take part. In order for the process to be as regulated and efficient as possible, you should appoint a moderator (and a deputy). The Scrum Master, for example, or another team member can take on this role. You may also pass the moderation role through the whole team - so everyone alternates in a certain order.

How does a retrospective with Echometer work?

The process roughly looks like this:

  1. Data gathering → Anonymous feedback in advance of the retro on the basis of items (i.e. behavioral anchors) that were selected individually for the team (typically by the moderator)
  2. Check-in the retro → Get together, create an open atmosphere and reflect on the results of the feedback in the online workshop (mixed with offline exercises where applicable)
  3. Generate insights → What is (not) going well? Which patterns do you notice?
  4. Decide on measures → What specific steps can we as a team use to make small improvements that, at best, can be implemented until the team's next retro?
  5. finish the retro → Mutually appreciate participation and initiate the measures that have been decided on

Questions about Echometer

Are you already a Echometer user and have specific questions? Then check out ours User Guide .

What exactly is Echometer?

Echometer is a digital coach for team development based on psychological knowledge and principles.

In essence: specific questions are asked to your team in a survey. In the following step, you sit down as a team and display the results of this survey on the wall with a projector, or view them simultaneously on your screens. 

Echometer is now conducting a workshop with the team, which aims to have your team work together to derive targeted measures for improvement.

How does the Echometer tool work?

The general procedure of Echometer is as follows:

  1. First, anonymous feedback (e.g. from the team) is obtained.
  2. The results are presented to those involved in the retrospectives.
  3. Within these parameters, improvement approaches can be recorded. These measures are then continuously checked and added to with every further retrospective.

Who is Echometer for?

Whether change manager, agile coach, scrum master, HR manager or ordinary manager: Echometer is suitable for anyone who wants to ensure systematic participation of employees and, at the same time, wants to monitor the changes within team and company.

In addition, Echometer serves HR developers in particular to further develop employees and managers through 360º feedback (so-called multi-rater feedback).

What do I have to consider when trying to successfully implement Echometer?

Echometer is most effective when the purpose of its introduction is clearly and transparently communicated in advance. Participants should be informed of what is happening to their feedback and that all answers are completely anonymous. Additionally, its introduction should be agreed upon by the worker's council and stakeholders as early as possible.

Who decides which questions are asked?

We offer an item pool designed around decades of research. You and your team choose which aspects are relevant to you. At the same time, you can also ask your own questions, for example, based on your company values.

Is the feedback anonymous?

Yes, the feedback is anonymous. However, in the conversations initiated by Echometer during the online workshops, you can voluntarily share your assessment or comments with the group in order to encourage team reflection and stimulate further development.

Why should I get feedback from the team before team retro?

For three reasons:

  1. Openness: Among other things, retrospectives are about addressing critical issues openly. However, it is often difficult to point out the elephant in the room. Especially in this case, a small anonymous survey in advance can be very helpful.
  2. Psychological models: Echometer does not collect any old feedback, but specifically targeted feedback based on validated psychological constructs. The questions contain precise small nudges in order to continuously develop the teamwork.
  3. Monitoring: Do you actually improve from retro to retro? Good question that few have a clear answer to. Echometer makes this question answerable - in such a way that the question can probably be answered "yes" to.

Does Echometer tell me how to set up my team retros?

No. We want to give the moderators or executives the greatest possible freedom when designing the retro. In this respect, the proposed steps of the team retro can be adopted, but can also be skipped.

As a rule, it is advisable to start the retro with Echometer and thus map the check-in and the "gather data" phase by discussing the results.

The corporate added value

Let's say Echometer reduces employee turnover - what does that do for us?

Fluctuation leads to direct costs (e.g. new recruiting process), overhead costs (e.g. demoralization of employees), opportunity costs (e.g. no purchases) and network costs (e.g. contacts of sales employees). It is therefore difficult to put into numbers. Deloitte's former hiring manager, Jim Wall, did the math for his company: saving one percent less annual staff turnover saves him USD$400-500 million (The Economist, 2007).

How does Echometer help us with the topic of employer branding and shortage of skilled workers?

Before you put mass financial resources into recruiting, you should analyze one thing carefully: Where are the problems in your company that lead to high employee turnover? Echometer will help you here, because the software allows corporate culture to be measured in a targeted manner.

At the same time, culture is the currency of the new world of work. It is one of the most important selection criteria for applicants and is at the core of every authentic employer brand.

Our employees are already motivated. Would we still have added value through Echometer?

Yes, definitely. The fact that your employees are motivated, does not mean that there is already a feedback culture in place, that optimizes your innovation potential. This is where Echometer comes in.

What is the advantage of an agile approach?

Agility increases employee engagement: almost three times as many highly motivated (or committed) employees work in companies that use agile methods than in other companies (Gallup engagement study, 2018). Agile methods also increase cultural flexibility (the ability to change a culture) - a highly recommended quality in our VUKA world.

Questions about data protection

Is Echometer GDPR compliant?

Of course! Echometer was designed in such a way that the security of the data and the anonymity of the answers are guaranteed in every case. All communication is encrypted according to current standards. If you have any further questions about this, please contact [email protected].

Where is the data collected by Echometer stored?

Customer data from Echometer are encrypted and stored on servers within the EU GDPR.

Any further questions?

Then use our contact form and we will try to answer your question as soon as possible!