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A manager's guide to remote teamwork: Reflect with retrospectives

August 13, 2020

See the full Manager's Remote Working Handbook here

Using reflection to capture new knowledge or feelings after a project or task can help your team to continuously learn and improve. But looking beyond projects and building reflection into your workflow is a big part of being an effective team as it gives you the ability to learn and adapt quickly.


Without reflection, there is no learning.


Used regularly and done well, reflection can build trust and transparency, as your team gets used to talking openly about problems and successes. It’s a way to build trust in the team, and to draw out learnings and insights the team can build on in the future. 


Timeframe: 15 minutes per week or 1 hour per month, but stick to a regular schedule.

Number of people: Ideally the whole team

Facilitator: Anyone in the team, usually the team lead

How does it work? 

Team reflection is both an individual and collective activity. 

Part 1. Individual reflection

Team members generally reflect best on their own. Before your retrospective meeting spend 10  minutes answering these three questions:

  1. What’s working well?
  2. What could be improved?
  3. What have I learnt?

Try to get your team into the habit of reflection. Allow them time out to reflect on their week, prompt them to diarise 10-20 minutes of reflection time if they struggle to do it otherwise.

Part 2. Collective discussion

In the retrospective meeting, share those reflections with the group. Apply collective thought to discuss the insights and potential actions to take out of the session.


CoachBot collects retrospective points and guides the team through a discussion, recording actions as you go. If you don’t have access to CoachBot, use Miro, Trello, or the chat in Zoom to share everyone’s reflections and then systematically make your way through them allowing everyone to speak about their notes and recording actions somewhere you can all refer back to them later. 



CoachBot makes it easy to teams to run remote retrospectives

THE SCIENCE OF REFLECTION
Reflection, where a team considers what has and hasn’t worked, and whether they have or haven’t worked together according to their own rules, is linked to outcomes directly:
Regular team reflection has been found to significantly impact effectiveness and innovation, two of the most sought after qualities of high performing teams. In some cases increasing performance over non-reflecting teams by 25%.

Next: Check-in using pulse surveys

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