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How To Run An Online Retrospective Meeting

To run an online retrospective meeting, define clear objectives, use a reliable virtual platform, ensure active participation by setting rules for engagement, facilitate open discussion about what worked and what didn’t, encourage constructive feedback and collective problem solving, and document the outcomes for future reference.

An Online Retrospective Meeting is a virtual gathering conducted after the completion of a project or a specific cycle in an agile development process, where team members collectively reflect on the process, what worked well, and what did not. The primary purpose of these meetings is to learn from the experience, improve future projects, and enhance team collaboration and effectiveness. Organized through video conferencing or collaborative online tools, these meetings often involve discussions on the successes and challenges encountered, potential solutions for improvements, and setting actionable plans for the next cycle or project.

What is the purpose of a Online Retrospective Meeting?

The purpose of running an online retrospective meeting as a leader is to reflect on past projects and identify areas for improvement. It allows for a collective assessment of team performance, encourages open communication, and facilitates the implementation of strategies to enhance future productivity.

How To Run An Online Retrospective Meeting: Step-By-Step


Step 1: Preparation

Before the meeting, the leader should identify key discussion topics and methodologies, establish clear objectives, and determine the meeting’s duration. Once these are defined, they should then distribute the meeting link to all attendees. Additionally, the facilitator has the responsibility of ensuring everyone has proper access to necessary software or tools. With this consolidated systematic approach, the possibility of running a smooth and fruitful meeting increases significantly.

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Step 2: Setting the Stage

At the beginning of a retrospective meeting, it’s crucial to share the agenda, goals, and ground rules with every participant. Doing so sets clear expectations, promotes cooperation, and ensures everyone is aligned. This helps in establishing a productive, respectful environment conducive for discussions, decision making, and progress.

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Step 3: Data Gathering

Participants exchange viewpoints about the project or events individually or within small groups. It’s the facilitator’s responsibility to devise methods to accommodate everyone’s contribution, such as utilizing shared online documents, virtual whiteboards, polls, or chats. This inclusive approach fosters open communication and encourages collective brainstorming.


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Step 4: Data Analysis

The facilitator guides the team in organizing the gathered data into identifiable themes or patterns, establishing a structure for the information. Once this is accomplished, the team must then identify and prioritize areas of critical importance based on predetermined criteria. These priority areas are usually those with the most significant impact or those representing the most prevalent issues. This process ensures focused attention is given to the most pertinent areas for problem-solving and decision-making.

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Step 5: Discussion and Decision Making

In order to resolve prioritized issues, it’s critical to have in-depth, focused dialogues. Encourage the team to produce innovative ideas and brainstorm solutions collaboratively. Consider varied perspectives and analyze each approach to determine the most effective course of action. Decision-making should be a collective process, striving for a consensus to ensure every team member’s voice is heard and valued.

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Step 6: Plan for Implementation

After the team reaches a consensus and makes decisions, there is a collective focus on developing an action plan. This plan should precisely outline the steps to be taken, designate the tasks to the responsible individuals, incorporate deadlines for all activities, and establish a system for monitoring progress. The comprehensive structure of the action plan ensures accountability and clarity, engendering team progress and unity.

Questions to ask as the leader of the meeting

1. What goals did we achieve during this time period? – This question helps the leader assess the team’s accomplishments and measure progress.

2. What were the biggest challenges we faced? – By identifying and discussing the challenges faced, the leader can understand potential issues in workflow, resources, or communication.

3. What actions were taken to overcome those challenges? – Understanding the actions taken demonstrates problem-solving abilities and highlights areas where the team can improve in the future.

4. Were our goals realistic and achievable? – Assessing the goals’ feasibility helps the leader ensure that expectations are reasonable and can be met in future projects.

5. Did we meet our deadlines? If not, why? – Evaluating missed deadlines helps identify potential bottlenecks, improvement opportunities, or external factors that affected progress.

6. Did we effectively communicate and collaborate as a team? – Evaluating communication and collaboration reveals areas for improvement and promotes a healthy work dynamic.

7. Did our project meet the desired quality standards? – Determining if the project met quality expectations helps the leader identify areas where the team excelled or where further improvement is needed.

8. Did team members have the necessary resources and support to complete their tasks? – Identifying resource deficiencies allows the leader to make necessary adjustments, ensuring the team has what they need for success.

9. What lessons did we learn during this time? – This question encourages the team to reflect and extract valuable insights that can be applied to future projects, fostering continuous improvement.

10. What action plans can we implement to improve in the future? – Identifying specific action plans enables the team to actively work on addressing weaknesses, ultimately leading to better overall performance.

Learn how to prepare a Online Retrospective Meeting

To prepare an online-retrospective meeting agenda as a leader, start by defining the meeting’s objective and desired outcomes. Share the agenda in advance, including time allocations for each topic. Include activities such as brainstorming, team discussions, and action item creation. Encourage team members to come prepared with relevant data and insights for a constructive and productive meeting.

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Software tools to facilitate a Online Retrospective Meeting

Software is invaluable for leaders running online retrospective meetings. It streamlines the process by providing a centralized platform for team members to share their feedback and ideas. With features like real-time collaboration, document sharing, and automated reminders, software ensures that every participant has a voice and that valuable insights are captured and acted upon efficiently.


Running an effective online retrospective meeting can have a significant impact on team performance and project success. It not only identifies what works well, but also eliminates pitfalls, improves processes, and fosters a culture of continuous learning and improvement. By applying the steps and techniques outlined in this blog, such as defining objectives, encouraging participation, facilitating open communication, and following up, team leaders can create an environment that encourages team growth and development. Keep in mind that it’s also essential to have the right tools to facilitate these meetings successfully. Remember, the ultimate goal is not just to have a meeting, but to bring about positive change and continuous improvement in your team’s work. So get started with your online retrospective meeting today and watch your team grow stronger and more cohesive.


What is an Online Retrospective Meeting?

An Online Retrospective Meeting is a regular meeting held by project teams to reflect on the work completed during a specific time period or project phase. It is designed to encourage continuous improvement through collaborative reflection and learning. These meetings are conducted online to accommodate remote and distributed team members.

What is the purpose of an Online Retrospective Meeting?

The main purpose of an Online Retrospective Meeting is to identify what went well, what did not go so well, and what can be improved for future iterations or phases of a project. It promotes continuous learning and improvement by encouraging the team to reflect on their experience and brainstorm ways for enhancement.

How long should an Online Retrospective Meeting last?

The length of an Online Retrospective Meeting can depend on many factors such as the complexity of the discussed project phase and size of the team, but usually, these meetings last somewhere between 60 to 90 minutes. Keeping it under two hours is usually a good practice to ensure that everyone stays focused and engaged.

Who should attend an Online Retrospective Meeting?

Anyone involved in the project or specific iteration should attend the Online Retrospective Meeting. Typically, this includes all team members who worked on the project, the project manager, and can sometimes also involve stakeholders or other interested parties.

How do you conduct an effective Online Retrospective Meeting?

To conduct an effective Online Retrospective Meeting, it’s crucial to create a safe and trustful environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their honest opinions. Structure the meeting in a way that encourages equal participation. Include elements like discussing what went well, what could be changed and voting on which improvements to prioritize. Using real-time collaboration tools and a designated facilitator can help streamline the process and make the meeting more effective.