I was intrigued by this article by Fiona Voss: My favorite way to run a retro:
The leader sets up the Trello board with four columns:
- Topics to discuss
Then everybody has 5-10 minutes to write Trello cards in the first three columns, working from their own laptops. You’re allowed to move a card somebody else wrote from Celebrations or Gripes to Topics to Discuss if you want to talk about it.
When all the cards are written, use Trello voting to vote on cards. When voting is finished, the leader sorts the cards by number of votes (descending).
One of my favorite aspects of this is how it facilitates different personalities and allows for everyone to have their voice heard. As a manager, often my biggest concern is that certain people may be marginalized and I am always looking for ways to improve our group communication. Whether the cause is unconscious bias, different thinking styles, or something else altogether, this sounds like a great approach to address the issue.
Fiona said this, talking about using lightning rounds to address an issue:
People who want to be heard, but have trouble jumping in to unstructured group discussions, get a turn to speak without having to fight for it.
Many people, developers in particular, think better when given a few quiet minutes on their own, and then the nudge to write out their thoughts. There are others who think better out loud. In a meeting, the latter group tends to overpower the former, and I love this simple approach to balance things out.
I look forward to trying this approach on my team. It is always an exciting challenge to pursue the delicate balance between too rigid structure and not enough structure to allow people to truly thrive.