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#Scrum. How to facilitate online sprint retrospectives using Klaxoon

By Berthilde, May 25, 2020
Pierre Bernard is a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Ippon Technologies. He uses Klaxoon to help his clients develop software solutions remotely.

Pierre Bernard works for Ippon Technologies, a consulting firm based in France and all over the world. His role as Scrum Master and Agile Coach involves supporting and facilitating the work of teams developing software solutions.

Find out how Pierre uses Klaxoon to facilitate online sprint retrospectives using Klaxoon:

Easily facilitating online workshops with remote teams

Pierre works as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach in the IT industry. His role is that of an agility specialist, to facilitate and promote agility through one of the best well-known Agile methods: Scrum. A member of a project team, he supports the clients’ teams in various fields, such as agility, development, cloud & DevOps, and the product, as well as helping them adapt to new agile project management methods. Pierre ensures that the team always has access to the tools they need and implements team rituals to stimulate continuous improvement and help them move forward autonomously.

Pierre works with distributed teams in Paris and Lyon, as well as in the USA and China, among other countries. Every two weeks, he facilitates brainstorming, ideation, retrospective, and continuous improvement workshops. His main challenge is to facilitate these workshops online while maintaining a group dynamic and the team’s creativity. To meet this challenge, Pierre uses Klaxoon!

Pierre’s team is spread all over the world: in France, the USA, and China.

Every two weeks, at the end of every sprint (a work cycle for which the project team defines the tasks and functions that it is committed to delivering), Pierre organizes an online retrospective with the teams he works with. These workshops serve to inspect the project and identify areas for improvement and new ideas in order to best start the next phase of the project. Pierre uses Meeting, a Klaxoon function that enables him to integrate and launch several activities during the workshop, such as Brainstorm, Quiz, and Survey.

Pierre gives his take after having facilitated several brainstorming workshops with around 20 people based in Seattle:

The team didn’t know Klaxoon at all, so we spent five minutes getting used to the tool, and people were really able to use it fully as early as the first session. For the following sessions, we were able to get into the subjects very quickly, because everyone was already familiar with it.
Pierre Bernard, Scrum Master and Agile Coach.

Unleashing your team’s creativity, generating ideas, and prioritizing them using Klaxoon

In order to prepare and facilitate these brainstorming workshops, Pierre’s favorite activity is Brainstorm. When he’s preparing these retrospectives, Pierre chooses a theme (Zombies, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, etc.), which he changes for every workshop.

In the following example, Pierre decided to create a Brainstorm on the theme of Dragon Ball Z. Why? Because he knows that a theme will get the team talking and boost creativity!

With this brainstorming activity, it’s just like I’m in front of my whiteboard, where I usually draw and stick photos and Post-it®. I don’t feel lost when we work together on these subjects every day, I even sometimes use a drawing tablet if I need to draw something in real time.
Pierre Bernard, Scrum Master and Agile Coach.

As soon as the participants are connected to the Brainstorm, Pierre starts the ceremony with an icebreaker that he prepares directly in the Brainstorm: he creates a «reception area» where he sticks images of characters with a variety of expressions. Each participant is then asked to describe how they are feeling by selecting one of the available images. This step gives Pierre an idea of the team’s mindset following the first two weeks of development of the current project, and allows him to adapt the pace of that day’s retrospective to ensure full participation.

Pierre kicks off the retrospective with an icebreaker and asks each member to describe how they are feeling by selecting one of the images available in the Brainstorm.

Then, the data collection stage enables each participant to anonymously share their thoughts, their point of view, and the ideas they had during the sprint. Pierre creates a dedicated zone in the Brainstorm and three categories of ideas: «good», «bad», and «ugly». Pierre gives the group a few minutes to think before posting their ideas in the Brainstorm and choosing which category to put each one in. It is then very easy for Pierre to visually identify the categories and sort the ideas in order to review them with the group.

Pierre defines three categories that the participants must select when they post their ideas on the Brainstorm (facilitator view).

The purpose of the third step is to identify areas for improvement: the idea being to reveal problems that have been encountered and find possible solutions by telling a story. Pierre asks the participants to imagine that the Magic Dragon from Dragon Ball Z can grant you one wish. Each participant posts an idea on the image of the Dragon that Pierre has inserted in the Brainstorm, specifying a wish that would improve the next sprint which they would like to have granted. Each participant must also state how they would know if the problem had been resolved.

This ideation process promotes the generation of ideas, and even the most far-fetched ideas can help the group find new ways to improve during the next iteration. The aim is to prioritize them, in order to end the meeting with one or two achievable actions.

As people can be creative, we’re not in a standard system with tickets and columns. Here, they have a whiteboard, and they do what they want with it. It really is much more creative, and you don’t feel boxed in like you can sometimes be.
Pierre Bernard, Scrum Master and Agile Coach.

Many ideas emerge during this stage, and you can end up with a long list of things to implement relative to the time available. The fourth step, therefore, consists in filtering the ideas and prioritizing actions. For that, Pierre uses a major theme of Dragon Ball Z: the big tournament. All the ideas are pitted against each other and the aim is to select the best one, which will be worked on during the next iteration. How? Everyone allocates points by liking their favorite ideas or by drawing directly in the Brainstorm. The group’s favorite ideas are easily identified, and other ideas that the participants liked may also be shortlisted to be worked on later.

In a dedicated part of Brainstorm, the team members select their favorite ideas, in order to prioritize the actions that will be implemented following the retrospective.

Collecting participant feedback and capitalizing on workshops

The final stage of this retrospective – once the ideas have been generated, collected, and prioritized – is an R.O.T.I. (Return On Time Invested). This is an agile method used to evaluate time spent in the workshop and collect feedback from the participants. Pierre asks everyone to describe their mindset at the end of the retrospective by selecting one of the Dragon Ball Z characters in the Brainstorm based on its form. The idea is to answer the following question: «Has this work, which potentially lasted 1 to 1 ½ hours, enabled you to say what’s on your mind, generate ideas, and improve you as a group?» For Pierre, this stage is above all about identifying ways to improve the activity, to see what might be missing, and to improve future workshops.

To conclude the workshop, every participant describes their state of mind by selecting one of the characters displayed in the Brainstorm.

Once the retrospective is over, Pierre can automatically generate a report and share it with the whole team, in order to save the result of the activity. For example, if a participant has to leave in the middle of the session, they have access to the report and can go back over the ideas that were shared. Thanks to the report, Pierre can also present the workshop after it has ended, and keep a record of it in case he needs to do another activity based on the ones he has already created.

Considering we can export the report in a variety of formats, I don’t need to re-type or re-write it in another application. I can retrieve the activities, the snapshots, and the report in PDF format, as well as any other screenshots I have made. If I want, I can also export CSV or Excel files to collect all the ideas that were posted, reuse them, and transfer them wherever I want afterwards.
Pierre Bernard, Scrum Master and Agile Coach.

With Klaxoon, Pierre can capitalize on all the retrospectives he has facilitated and Brainstorms he has created: he converts them into Templates so that other Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches that use Klaxoon can also share and use the same Brainstorms, thereby saving time on creation.

For distributed teams that want to get beyond paper and Post-it®, simply because they want to save trees, Klaxoon is a tool that allows you to retain that creativity: people can sketch, draw, post images, share thoughts, bounce ideas off each other dynamically, and, most importantly, keep a record of them. And it avoids systematically having to wipe the board clean after meetings, because that also takes time! Klaxoon allows you to be very creative: I use it for retrospectives and roadmaps, to define national action plans, do brainstorming sessions and ideation activities on a product, to split a product into its different technical parts in order to manage them individually… It’s all these techniques and tools that I use with Klaxoon that enable me to stay creative and retain that ‘whiteboard mindset’.
Pierre Bernard, Scrum Master and Agile Coach.
Overview of the Brainstorm created by Pierre and shared with the participants of the sprint retrospective.

Why not try out the retrospective Template?

Berthilde
By Berthilde, Communication Officer
Always listening, she lends an attentive ear to those around her... no wonder for this musician! In charge of communications at Klaxoon, Berthilde sources and promotes the most inspiring use cases from our community.