Method for getting people to share in high profile settings

For groups that have not participated in retrospectives, it can be difficult to embrace the retrospective as a safe place to share perspectives. One way to handle this is to send out an anonymous survey ahead of time. The only questions in the survey are:

  • "What has been going well?"
  • "What could we improve?"

Then have two people pair to review the results:

  • Review the result separately
  • Cluster meaningful excerpts from the responses into themes
  • Meet with the other person to review themes

Pairing like this is intended to diminish effects of bias by:

  • Having more than one perspective on the responses.
  • Working independently

Then share both the analysis and the raw responses with the participants of the retrospective with enough time for them to review them before the retrospective.

When everyone has seen the responses ahead of time, this can reduce the possibility of surprises during the retrospective. It can also make people feel safer elaborating.