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I started a retrospective app

Published at Jun 30, 2020

It was back in 2013 that I started as freelance front-end developer and got introduced to my first Scrum Retrospective.

I’ve worked for 6 different companies in those 7 years and noticed that a lot of them are still doing retrospectives the same way.

Writing the good and the bad on post-its with markers that are too thick to read any of it… and then trying to discuss it.

I liked the idea of the retro, but there were things lacking. e.g.:

  • Markers are too thick for a tiny post-it; nobody can read what you’ve written;
  • As a developer I suddenly had to come-up with all the items that went wrong during the sprint; which I forgot of course, because too busy; So I had to keep a list during the sprint;
  • 50% of the retro time is focused on writing and presenting; Why not submit your feedback before hand? I already had that list;
  • Too little time to focus on solutions;
  • Very cumbersome process: keep digital list during sprint, then write it on post-its during retrospective, then stick it on the wall, discuss it, vote, than quickly digitalize the result again in Confluence (because we only have 3 min left), assign some to-dos;
  • Too little follow-up; Everyone had a good chat, but not always did things change;
  • There is no long term tracking of energy levels; Some of my clients had really high work pressure; The retro was not going to change that;
  • No good way to do a analog retro remotely

This bugged me and I tried multiple retrospective apps

I tried many retropsective apps, Team O’Clock, Retrium, Reetro, Team Retro, Parabol, Scatterspoke, Sprintlio, IdeaBoardz, FunRetro etc etc..

What I found was that most of them have great marketing site, but the app was not great. They work, but felt old and are not making me happy to use their product.

What I missed in the market was THE retro app that was sexy, had good UX, good design, and friendly to post your feedback in each day of the week and had all the right features. I was looking for a retrospective app that gave me the feeling that we went from IRC chat to Slack. But found nothing like that.

That’s why I started retros.work

First the name: Retros.work, because retrospectives really work.

My goal was to create a killer app that combined all the right features with good UX and beautiful design.

These features were critical to have:

  • Post feedback 24/7 during the sprint; I want to log-in and post feedback immediately, so I don’t have to keep a list;
  • Energy scoring; so I can express how I’m doing; We want to keep the energy in the team;
  • Emoticons; Express how you feel;
  • Trends; Keep track of emoticons and energy scoring over time;
  • Retro board;
  • Dynamic columns; Default and custom question models (Pro’s / con’s, 4L’s, Starfish etc);
  • Voting; Sort by votes;
  • Convert feedback into to-dos;
  • To-dos;
  • Assigned to-dos; With inbox for each user collected over multiple projects;
  • Remote retros; Especially now during Corona; Socket connect; See who is online; auto refreshing when answers are posted;
  • Export to-dos; csv and xls;
  • Filter on user; So he / she can present their feedback;
  • Scheduled and manual retrospectives;

I believe I’ve done just that, have a look:

A clean online retrospective board

Online retrospective board with a lot of feedback

Quickly create an online retrospective

Schedule your retrospective

Analyze energy scores over multiple sprints

Track trends with emoticons on your online retrospective board

Create assigned to-dos on your online retrospective board

Proof of the pudding

Yesterday we did a retrospective with 35 people at my company where people had to onboard on their mobile and post their feedback. Which worked perfectly.

You can use it on any device. You can post feedback before hand, or during your retrospective .

I hope you will join https://retros.work and give our app a try. You can start our 30 days free trial today. After that you will pay around €3,99 to €1,99 per user a month depending on the amount of seats.

We’ll be deploying new features every week.

Kind regards,
Rob van Eck

Written by

Rob van Eck

Owner of retros.work

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Why the need for a retrospective app?

The traditional scrum retrospective is a great tool to reflect and improve. But the reality has shown some issues: we forget what went wrong during the sprint, so we keep manual lists. Then we go into a session that takes up 60 minutes, of which 40 minutes is focused on presenting those sticky notes. We lack the time to really focus on the solutions. We then take a picture of the wall with sticky notes, and digitalize those results again. 'That was a good talk!' ... but there aren't hard assigned to-dos. Some big issues still haunt your team for months.

Retros.work helps you get the most out of your team. By providing you with an online retrospective board combined with all the right features. HR trends to keep the energy in your team. Smooth and easy way to give- and receive feedback, assigned to-dos and automatic archiving. You’ll save time and focus on solutions.