Our blog articles are translated to English by machine and may not always be accurate - sorry for that.

If you understand German, we recommend to switch to the German version.


Open feedback in team retrospectives

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email

I worked for a while in a company in which the feedback culture was a core element of the company's mission statement. In the team retrospectives, however, I found that very constructive feedback was rarely given. Problems were sometimes hushed up and employees rarely developed joint work steps to avoid criticism if they were not achieved. An open feedback culture was therefore not lived, contrary to the mission statement.

This phenomenon can be observed in many organizations. Because let's be honest: none of us like to express criticism. And if we don't give clear criticism, we have no tangible clue for new resolutions.

Reflections in retrospectives 

The most important thing in cooperation is the regular exchange of information and constructive communication. So that there is no chaos, but instead the efficiency and commitment of the employees are encouraged, everyone should come to the team meeting prepared.

If "retrospectives" it is a good idea for employees to think beforehand about what feedback they want to place and what they need feedback from their colleagues for. Our retro tool offers support to the team members: certain items are queried in advance, so that awareness of certain topics is raised even before the meeting. You don't know what retrospectives are? Then take a look at ours FAQs to!

Retrospectives are generally there to reflect on the cooperation and working methods of a team according to the respective work stages and then to derive concrete suggestions for improvement for the future. Under these conditions you have a dynamic, common work process and can the knowledge of many fall back on to sharpen goals and derive measures.

Would you like to promote openness in your team and develop it sustainably - measurably -? This is exactly why we developed our team workshop tool Echometer for retros. More information here:

Sounds easy? Under certain circumstances it is too! And we show you how to do it.

Give open feedback & #8211; How? Why? Why?

Feedback is not only modern and on everyone's lips, it is actually very profitable for shared and individual services. Provided you use it correctly.

For feedback to be constructive, it should follow a certain pattern (see Fiege, Muck & Schuler, 2014). The first step is that evaluation, This should include the following aspects:

A concrete plan should follow the evaluation connect in which you develop suggestions for improvement and derive (new) work steps.

If you keep that in mind, the collaboration is guaranteed to work better. Each team member has clear points of reference, can automatically prepare better and there is open feedback at the subject level.

In order to always be up-to-date and take a step towards agility, such retrospectives should at best every 1 & #8211; Take place 2 weeks. Especially in an agile work environment, you often work in heterogeneous teams. For many, this is a challenge in working together. With the help of successful retrospectives and open feedback, heterogeneous teams act as an opportunity instead of a challenge.

Practical tips for open feedback

In your next retro, just start with the first point of the scheme & #8211; one could say the “retro classic”: discuss the situation , The aim is to reflect on your work process and to check what has contributed to the success and how you want to proceed.

It helps that each team member brainstorms what exactly has been worked on since the last retro and what went well and / or badly. Helpful questions are the following (a rough overview of how to deal with the questions can be found in the figure):

  • On a scale of 1-10: how far are we until the task is completed? And what is missing at 10?
graph-practice tip-feedback

You will see: In the course of answering such questions, many facts come to light that you were previously unaware of.
After brainstorming, you should discuss the findings in the plenum. For this it is important that everyone involved feels safe. You can find out more in our article on Psychological security read. You can certainly help each other and praise one or other concrete successes.

How you can tell whether a work step can be called "completed" is explained in the article Definition of done

How can we help?

If regular and open feedback is still a challenge in your team, ours can Retrospective tool be of great help. Based on psychological know-how, we have developed for teams like your optimally tailored items that improve your retros and strengthen cooperation. Just try it!


Klein, C., Diaz Granados, D., Salas, E., Le, H., Burke, CS, Lyons, R., & Goodwin, GF (2009). Does team building work? Small Group Research, 40 (2), 181-222. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046496408328821

On a similar note

Articles you may also be interested in

Want to get started?

Test team retros with Echometer for free & drive agile work in your organization.

I recently got an ebook too "12 retrospective methods from psychology" written - interested?

Christian Heidemeyer, Psychologist & Scrum Master