How to Use a Slack Retrospective Bot to Run Effective Retrospectives

Many agile teams turn to a Slack retrospective bot to overcome the scheduling nightmare of getting all of their developers (along with the Product Owners and Scrum Master) on the same call at the same time.

In today’s post, we show you how Scrum teams use Geekbot — our Slack retrospective bot — to run asynchronous (and highly effective) retrospectives in Slack.

Using Geekbot to Run Slack Retrospectives 

In the sections below, we cover how to use Geekbot to:

Create a New Retrospective via Geekbot’s Dashboard

The first step is to click on “Retrospective” in the upper right corner when selecting from our list of pre-filled templates. 

As you can see below, in addition to retrospectives, Geekbot is also used to facilitate asynchronous daily standups, Slack polls and surveys, and more.

Slack Retrospective Bot: Reflect on what went well and what can be improved. Decide what to focus on next.

Customize When, Where, and Who

Geekbot’s retrospective template is highly customizable so it can be adapted to what your whole team needs.

Slack Retrospective: Schedule, Questions, Channel, Participants

In our retrospective format, you can modify:

  • The schedule: You can select when your retro gets sent out. Some teams complete a sprint retrospective in one day. But some of our customers also do tiered retrospectives that last over several days. (This extra time helps teams provide more insightful and reflective comments, along with other benefits we cover in our article on running tiered remote retrospectives.)
  • Retrospective Questions: Geekbot defaults to the four common retrospective questions, but you can rearrange them, delete the ones you don’t want, and add new ones (with no limit to how many questions you can ask).
  • Broadcast Channel: You can make a new Slack channel that’s just for retrospectives, or you can use a pre-existing channel.
  • Participants: To save time, you can choose to add all the participants from your broadcast channel, but you can also manually add (or remove) participants who don’t need to fill out the retrospective.

Tips on Scheduling Your Retrospective

Traditionally, retrospectives are held at the end of a sprint, right before your next sprint planning session starts. This gives you time to collect feedback and decide which insights you want to turn into action items going forward.

But every agile team is different, especially when it comes to holding asynchronous retrospective meetings.

With Geekbot, we made it so you can schedule our retrospective bot as it makes sense for your team.

You can pick the time period and days the retrospective questions get sent out. 

Period & Days: Schedule the frequency and days that retrospective questions get sent out

You can also select the time and time zone

Time & Timezone: With Geekbot, you have the option of sending retrospectives at a specific time in everyone's timezone.

It’s often best to select “User’s local time zone” so Geekbot factors in where team members are geographically, and they get the retrospective questions sent to them at the right time. 

If you manually select the timezone for each participant, you run the risk of mistaking and sending the retrospective questions too late or too early in the day.

Send Out Your Retrospective and Collect Responses

Geekbot will send out the retrospective questions in Slack to teammates at the date and time you scheduled.

When it’s time to complete the retrospective questions, team members get a notification like a normal Slack bot alert. 

It’s okay if they don’t respond to the retrospective immediately. Geekbot will send a reminder to team members who haven’t provided their answers, making it easier on you because you don’t have to individually follow up with everyone who forgot to reply. 

Note: Although the reminder feature is optional, most of our customers choose to turn it on. 

Personal Reminders: Smart reminders (Geekbot will automatically send you reminders by learning and adapting to your reporting) or Manual reminders (Customize the way you get reminders and set your own pace)

Once the retrospective answers are in, Geekbot shares each teammate’s responses in the appropriate Slack channel. 

Note: You can also view the retrospective responses in Geekbot’s dashboard, filtered by date and time. Plus, you can choose to get your team’s responses emailed to you.

Retrospectives in Slack: What went well? What didn't go so well? What have you learned?

From there, team members can reply to each other (if they need to follow up or clarify something) by creating threads and conversations without disrupting other teammates. 

Threaded responses within Slack make it so other team members don't have to be interrupted.

Final Thought: Adding Geekbot to Your Workflow

We designed Geekbot’s Slack retrospective bot to help you easily run asynchronous and value-driven retrospectives. 

And that same Slack integrated technology is what lets teams run asynchronous daily standups, remote well-being check-ins, Slack polls, and much more. 

We use Geekbot everyday ourselves, and we’re proud and thankful that over 60,000 customers have signed up, including teams at companies such as GitHub, GitLab, Zapier, Shopify, and more. 

Note: Are you ready to start holding retrospectives with the help of our Slack retrospective bot? Click here to start your free trial.

Frequently asked questions

How Can I Make My Retrospectives More Fun?

Team members can easily develop a hum-drum response to retrospectives, treating them like just another meeting to check off.

     

This isn’t good for your future sprints — the point of a retrospective is to identify what isn’t working and what is.

     

Retrospective games are designed to get your participants to think in such terms.

     

For more information, read our article on 10 Retrospective Game Ideas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *