SoWork Retrospective Meeting Template
Hold a remote retrospective meeting your team will love. Feel like you're truly beside each other. And - thanks to AI-powered meeting tools - save hours of time, too.
About the Retrospective Meeting Template
The Retrospective Meeting Template in SoWork is a simple path to an impactful and productive team meeting. Retrospectives are a popular practice among great teams that are continuously looking to learn and grow. A retrospective meeting provides a structured way for teams to reflect on what went well and what could be improved after a given project.
Also called a post mortem meeting, retrospectives allow teams to review their ways of working and discuss current problems and goals, brainstorm new ideas, and explore and plan which actions need to happen to keep moving forward.
In SoWork, the Retrospective Meeting Template empowers your team to run an insightful session by connecting, discovering root causes of project issues, and finding ways to do better in the next iteration.
4 Benefits of Using the Retrospective Meeting Template
1️⃣ Meeting Summaries via Sophia Bot, SoWork’s generative AI Office Assistant
With this template, you’re able to use SoWork’s AI generated Meeting Summaries (created by Sophia Bot). This Smart Office tool allows you to get the most out of your meeting by providing clear, section by section summaries and tidy action items. With SoWork’s Sophia Bot, you have your next priorities lined up right away, saving you time and energy.
When the meeting begins, click the Sophia Bot icon under your video tile - you’ll then see Sophia Bot begin typing. From here, your meeting content is being transcribed and summarized automatically, and a note with your Meeting Summary will be available to you and your team within minutes of leaving the meeting.
You can access these notes at any point afterwards as they’ll be stored within your personal Meeting Summaries Codex on the SoWork app.
2️⃣ Feeling like you’re really together
With the SoWork Retrospective Meeting Template, you’re able to collect early, and linger around afterwards, because you’re in a virtual office! Your team can literally see that the team lead is setting up before the retrospective, or that the engineering team is gathering around to discuss their learnings.
This buzzing office energy fosters deeper connections, spontaneous conversations, and ideation that drives innovation, and just isn’t possible on a scheduled Zoom or Teams call. By using the SoWork Retrospective Template, your team will truly feel like you’re sitting beside each other in a real office.
You’re able to sit beside your favourite co-worker and grab people on the way out the door when the meeting ends. This feeling of togetherness is key in a retrospective meeting and fosters trust within your team, creating a transparent and safe environment.
3️⃣ Learnings that incorporate everyone’s point of view
Retrospectives give equal opportunity to all involved team members to present their thoughts and opinions on a project. This way, you’re able to isolate strengths and weaknesses in each area - the team level, organization level, or the individual level.
Taking time to tease a project apart and reflect is critical for high performing teams, and is a common practice among admired project managers, team leads and directors. Teams often move from project to project without considering how to make processes better than the last time. An effective post mortem meeting can thus be an incredibly beneficial way to help us improve our ways of thinking and working, especially when it comes to collaborative, cross-functional teams.
At SoWork, we’ve used retrospectives to diagnose challenges we’ve faced on a particular project, find common themes on things we could do differently, and ask questions that help identify blockers or help set better and more realistic expectations. These learnings are then incorporated into the next project, so we’re always improving!
4️⃣ Clear next steps to try in the next iteration
When you host retrospectives, you’re able to act on the learnings that come out of the meeting - leading to improvements in your workflows for the next round. You’ll find ways to level-up the planning and structure of future projects, as well as your team collaboration methods. Because of this, it’s crucial that any learnings or next steps are tracked and followed-up on regularly.
How to Use the Retrospective Meeting Template
After clicking on the “Try Template” button, we’ll guide you through a quick onboarding flow, where we’ll make a virtual office. Your meeting template will be inside this office, and after onboarding, you’ll land in your template - ready to try it out with your team!
At SoWork, because we work beside each other in a virtual office, we’re able to see when people start gathering around before the meeting begins. So, when others in the office see their teammates collecting in the meeting area a few minutes early, they know they’re welcome to walk over and catch up.
SoWork’s multitude of meeting related features make hosting meetings engaging and productive. You’re able to blast emojis - and even a teammate’s avatar - to celebrate wins, raise your avatar’s hand when you have a question (and lower it again when it’s been answered), screenshare multiple screens, use whiteboards together and so much more.
You can also customize your Meeting Zone by adding relevant images and documents for your team to view before, after, or during your retrospective.
✨ How to prepare for a retrospective meeting? ✨
You’ll first want to determine who your retrospective participants will be. So, who should attend this post mortem meeting? Great question! You may not need to invite the entire team, but only the primary stakeholders of the project that’s being discussed.
This could be product owners, developers, designers, and project managers specific to that project. This ensures the meeting has everyone you need, but doesn’t take time from people who truly don’t need to be there.
There will always be another retrospective, so try to keep the invite list to the must-have teammates. Before the meeting, have everyone brainstorm their thoughts on the project individually, touching on the following questions:
- What went well?
- What challenges were encountered?
- What things should we try next time?
- What puzzles us?
Answers to these questions can be submitted anonymously, and the team lead (or whomever is leading the Retro) can group similar or duplicate items before the meeting begins. Some teams also vote on which group of thoughts/ideas to discuss during the meeting. This way, it’s very clear to see where the top points of discussion should be - this is especially useful for a larger, more complex project.
It’s also key to time-box your meeting, ensuring that timeframe will work for your team and the content you’ll need to cover. Many teams start with 45 minutes, then adjust as necessary. If you’re running your very first Retrospective, you may want to start with 60 minutes. Using tools like a timer for each section can be helpful, ensuring things keep moving and aren’t discussed in too much detail.
Plan to use SoWork’s Sophia Bot - AI-generated meeting notes are a fantastic way to get the most out of your Retro. With these, you’re able to obtain a Meeting Summary after your meeting, get started on your generated action items, and review these notes whenever needed by accessing your Meeting Codex inside your SoWork Office.
✨ What should I say in a retrospective meeting? ✨
The retrospective should be space for you to elevate ideas and come up with solutions. This way, you and your team can improve processes and the way you work together. Keep the meeting tone objective, productive, and solution-oriented rather than focusing on ascribing blame or personalizing. Redirect as needed if conversations get off-track.
There are a series of questions that you can structure your meeting around:
- What was our goal of the project?
- What happened?
- Why did it happen?
- What are we going to do next time?
Recapping the goal of the project helps everyone get aligned on what the expectations were to start, and what you initially set out to accomplish. This part of the post mortem meeting does not need to be a discussion, but you can examine the initial goals to see if you hit your targets.
When discussing what happened, you could present notes, a timeline, data, and/or consider the perspectives of the stakeholders in the project. They can go over what went well and what challenges were encountered.
After that, you can move on to the why. In order to keep discussions constructive, look for patterns and themes in the data that emerge from the team's discussions. Ask questions to explore areas of ambiguity and get clarification.
Next, use your team’s reflections to plan for the future. It’s essential to not only reflect on what happened, but also to use post-meeting action items to improve projects and ways of working. Discuss each idea as a team, and assign owners and due dates to any needed actions.