Another Retro? How to manage Scrum Retrospective meeting for 20+ team members

We at Scandiweb, are always willing to try to different approaches for managing internal team Retrospectives… and this time we tried a way, that I would define as a Conference type of Retrospective.

The motivation for a change:

Recently one of the biggest teams has grown to the number where it’s hard to maintain focus and involvement of all team members. We usually did a simple Retrospective activities like “Starfish” where everybody is discussing same things all together, but this usually led to only few member involvement. Others felt bored about everything that’s happening in the room and it’s quite logical as we are more than 20 members. In the end 3 to 6 brainstormed and decided what is the best for the whole team.

So, that’s why we wanted a change!

Trying out the conference retrospective:

The idea comes from a Conference schedule. For instance, there are multiple venues in the conference and in each of it, a different topic will be discussed in different time. Everybody can choose what to attend based on topic, time and place.

We did something similar for our Retrospective:

1) Team raised topics that they would like to discuss in the meeting;

2) They put several topics in provided time slots (picture below — Schedule);

3) Each team member applied for specific discussion by signing initials on paper;

4) In parallel two topics were discussed in smaller groups with 15 min timebox;

5) The same process continued according to the schedule below;

6) Summary — topics were presented to the whole team, discussed and decided what could be improved;

Example Schedule:

Outcomes of our scrum meeting:

In the end, we discussed more topics in less time. Usually, it took 2 hours for us to hold a team’s Retrospective meeting, but with the approach, we managed to timebox the meeting within 1.5 hour which is already 25% decreased overhead. And I think time still could be decreased with next times.

Also, I noticed that people were more engaged mostly due to the fact they are talking about things they care about. And this, in my opinion, is the key to a successful Retrospective.

Additional, Summary block felt like returning back to school where we did group presentations for all class. Just this time we agreed on actions what we should do all together to improve our team results and collaboration.

We definitely will use this approach again! What is your approach? Share in comments!

Some photos from the process:

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