Retros shouldn’t be easy

A few months ago, the retrospective tool FunRetro rebranded as EasyRetro. This is garbage. Retros can be fun, but if they’re easy then you’re doing them wrong. Hard retros are the ones worth having.

Easy retrosHard retros
Surface level discussionsDeep discussions
Talk mostly about thingsTalk mostly about people
No-emotions-zoneFeelings drive the topics
No vulnerability requiredLet’s get vulnerable y’all
Not much conflictFull of conflict
Boring, begs for multitaskingExciting, can’t look away
Waste of timeIrreplaceable

When someone says retros aren’t valuable, they usually mean easy retros aren’t valuable. They just don’t know there’s any other type.

This point of view usually leads to one of two things:

  • “They’re not valuable but they’re required so we’ll keep doing them.” OR:
  • “They’re not valuable so let’s just stop doing them.”

I don’t often see the third option: “They’re not valuable so let’s fix them.” And the way to fix them is to make them harder. Be more honest. Say how you’re really feeling. Argue. Dig freaking deep.

People say therapists are only valuable if you don’t hold anything back. The same is true for retros. If you hold back, then you aren’t talking about the real issues. Of course they aren’t valuable if you’re skipping the stuff that hurts the most! It’s like going to a doctor for the cut on your toe but ignoring your recurring chest pain.

Make them harder to make them good. A team that does hard retros well is a team that can’t lose.

Thanks for reading! Subscribe via email or RSS, follow me on Twitter, or discuss this post on Reddit!

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close