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Monthly Retrospectives

We never really had a single defined process at Wildbit for design or development. We've borrowed some concepts over the years from practices like Agile and Scrum to blend a process of our own. I've also been heavily influenced by more traditional books from authors like Peter Drucker. One method that I always thought was hugely valuable is the sprint restrospective, taken from Agile and Scrum.

If you are not familiar, a restropective is a time to reflect after you have completed a project. It's a breather before you start the next scope of work. We're all so focused on completing and deploying our work that we forget to look back and reflect. We jump right to the next project and never look back. By conducting a retrospective you have time to look back, discuss what worked, what did not work, and celebrate the progress of something new.

While I would love to say we've always been great at this, it's not the case. Doing retrospectives in a fluid way is not easy, especially if you are trying to conduct them for every sprint or feature release. That's why we've adapted it into a Monthly Retrospective instead.

Our monthly retrospectives look back on an entire month of work for the product or team. We share what we've accomplished, celebrate the successes we've had, and learn from the missed opportunities. It's not just for the development either. At the beginning of each month, each person from each product team (marketing, customer success, systems, etc) will post a report for the previous month. They might cover our application uptime for our products, traffic growth to our marketing sites, feature adoption from a recent release, common issues in support, or simply what they worked on that month.

By switching to a monthly retrospective, the entire team has a moment to reflect on the progress we're making or the common issues that arise. It's also a perfect time to share knowledge across teams. For instance, customer success can get vital customer feedback to the product team. And since it is at the beginning of each month, we don't have to remember when to discuss or publish the results.

We're slowly getting the hang of monthly retrospectives and learning as we go. At first it was an all hands meeting, but after that first meeting it was clear it was too exhausting. The restrospective today is posted to each product team, but shared across every discipline for anyone interested to read. My biggest goal is to make it feel natural, so I am working on making it as easy as possible while still providing as much value as possible. It's not easy, but I think we'll have a good cadence after a few more months.