Tools for hybrid, remote or on-site retrospectives

Which tools should I use for hybrid, remote or on-site retrospectives?

Hybrid, remote and on-site retros:

Just a few years ago, it was normal to conduct retrospectives on site. However, since the trend towards remote working at the latest, there are many tools that can be used to conduct retrospectives online (Tips for remote working). So what are the best tools to use for hybrid, remote or on-site retrospectives?

Let's go through the various conditions for retrospectives one by one:

Which tool should I use for remote retrospectives?

Online tools are the best way to create a first-class remote retrospective.
With these, everyone is able to fully access the Retrospective from their individual work location.
However, you should pay attention to specific requirements when choosing the right online retro tool.

These requirements are designed to maximize participant interaction and engagement as well as to support efficient time management and an open feedback culture. The key features that such a tool should offer are:

  1. An integrated timer, which facilitates time management and ensures that all agenda items are addressed.
  2. Live reactionssuch as raising a hand to enable dynamic interaction and obtain quick feedback or approval.
  3. The option to share hidden sticky noteswhich is particularly useful for brainstorming sessions. It allows participants to share ideas anonymously. These can later be revealed and discussed together, which promotes an open and unbiased discussion.
  4. A check-in generatorwhich provides a variety of icebreakers to start each meeting in a positive and welcoming way, increasing participation and openness among team members.

A tool that fulfills all these requirements creates an optimal basis for conducting remote retrospectives.

Echometer is an example of such a solution. The tool not only offers the features mentioned above, but also numerous others specifically designed to make remote sessions interactive, effective and engaging. For teams ready to get started with their remote retrospective, Echometer offers a simple and direct entry point, with comprehensive information and guidance available on the Echometer website.

Remote retrospective example - Team Commitments Retrospective:

Health-Check questions:

These questions are answered on a scale (1-5):

As a team, we share a common understanding of what "good work" is.

Open feedback questions:

Handling of contradictory priorities: ‘When I encounter contradictory priorities, I …’

Communication of blockers: ‘When I am stuck on a task, I announce this by …’

Navigation of conflicts: ‘When I notice a conflict start to build up in our team, I …’

working agreement sample template tool

Hybrid, remote and on-site retrospective tools:

Which tool should I use for hybrid retrospectives?

In hybrid retrospectives, which are a combination of physical presence and online participation, there is the particular challenge of effectively involving all – participants regardless of their location. A key element for the success of such sessions is the selection of a tool that is specifically tailored to the needs of hybrid formats. Tools that support a smartphone app are ideal because they can be easily adapted to the different circumstances of hybrid scenarios.

When using a tool for hybrid retrospectives, you should pay particular attention to the following aspects:

  • Accessibility: Participation in the retrospective should be made possible by a simple invitation link or QR code so that participants can easily join both on site and remotely.
  • Functionality of the app: It is crucial that the smartphone app provides all the essential functions. This includes sending feedback, participating in votes and the ability to express live reactions.
    These functions help to ensure that all participants can be actively and equally involved in the process, regardless of whether they are physically in the room or digitally connected.

In addition to a suitable tool, moderation is a critical factor for the success of hybrid retrospectives.
Specific moderation techniques and strategies are required to optimally integrate both online and face-to-face participants.

For more tips and best practices on moderating hybrid retrospectives, you can also take a look at this article: Tips for hybrid retrospectives

Hybrid Retrospective Example - Psychological Safety Retro:

Health-Check questions:

These questions are answered on a scale (1-5):

I regularly receive useful feedback on how good my performance is and how I can improve.

If a team member makes a mistake, they are not judged for it.

You're allowed to not know things in our team.

In conflicts, we talk on a factual level, so that no one feels personally attacked or judged.

Open feedback questions:

What else do we want to talk about?

Hybrid, remote and on-site retrospective tools:

Which tool should I use for on-site retrospectives?

For on-site retrospectives, the use of traditional tools such as a physical flipchart, whiteboard or sticky notes offers an intuitive approach to using feedback.
Even though these media are still very popular for on-site retrospectives, they have one major disadvantage.
In order to evaluate the sustainable improvement of a team, it is necessary to subsequently convert the recorded results into a digital format. This takes a considerable amount of time.
Especially if on-site retrospectives only take place occasionally, the use of a digital tool could offer an efficient alternative right from the start.

Certain criteria must be taken into account when carefully selecting a digital tool for on-site retrospectives:

  • Smartphone integration: The tool should offer a simple and uncomplicated participation option via smartphones, ideally using a QR code or an invitation link. This enables participants to access the retrospective quickly and easily.
  • Moderation view for large screens: A view specially designed for moderation that can be displayed on a large screen is essential. It should be designed in such a way that all participants can see the content clearly, which makes it easier to focus and discuss together.
  • Option for pre-surveys: If the use of smartphones during the retrospective is not desired, it is advisable to choose a tool that allows surveys to be conducted in advance. This allows valuable input from the team to be obtained in advance and efficiently integrated into the meeting.

These points mean that you don't have to give up the traditional advantages of an on-site meeting, but you can enjoy the full range of benefits of a digital tool.

The targeted use of such a tool can therefore not only support the implementation of on-site retrospectives, but also significantly increase their effectiveness.

On-site retrospective example - Battery Retrospective:

Open feedback questions:

How full is your personal battery as a percentage right now?

What has drained your battery recently?

What has recharged your battery recently?

What would help you to save energy over the next few weeks?

Conclusion - Which tool should I use if my team conducts retrospectives both hybrid, remotely and on site?

In conclusion, it can be said that conducting retrospectives – whether hybrid, remote or on-site – plays a central role in the continuous improvement and cohesion of a team.

But because these different ways of working also entail different challenges, Echometer has set itself the task of creating a tool that meets the constantly changing requirements of the modern working world.

In addition to the essential features for a good retro tool, we have also made sure that we integrate the following:

  • An interactive online mode for remote retrospectiveswhich enables committed participation and active feedback even across physical distances.
  • The option to participate via smartphone for hybrid retrospectivesto ensure equal involvement of all participants regardless of their physical location.
  • The option to conduct advance surveyswhich makes it possible to record important information and moods in the team in advance of the retrospective.

If you want to test the whole thing without obligation, you can try out one of more than 50 retro templates within the next 2 minutes and start your first retro test run:

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Need a team boost? Do this: The Spotify Health Check Retrospective!

First Health question: "😍 We love going to work, and have great fun working together."

Sounds good? Try our retro tool for free below.

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