Fun Retrospectives - Make Retros Easy and Collaborative

The concept of retrospectives has seemingly permeated every nook and cranny of the IT industry. It’s a central concept to Agile, and is a phenomenal way to regularly provide a forum for the team to express concerns, recognize achievements, and ultimately improve the software product they are building.

A cool tool I ran into a few months ago is “Fun Retro”, an online, real-time, collaborative retrospective board that makes sprint retros a breeze.

Most retros I had been in previously involved sticky notes placed on a wall or thoughts jotted down on a whiteboard. But as programmers, why aren’t we doing this online? We (hopefully) have someone take pictures or type out the feedback anyway, so why not just make it all digital in the first place?

Fun Retro makes digitization easy, since it’s all done online. It even has a nifty little “Export” button that outputs the entire result to plaintext — perfect for moving to a longer term storage space like Confluence, Evernote, OneNote, or whatever your team uses for document storage.

Another great feature is the real time feedback. Under the hood, the project uses Firebase, a blazing fast Google tool that keeps everything in perfect sync. Teammates will see messages in real time, reducing the number of duplicate items on your board.

But don’t duplicates indicate that a particular item has a lot of support? Yup, and that’s where the voting system comes into play! Anytime a teammate sees an item they like, a quick click on the thumbs up lets them show their support. You can sort by votes to get a quick picture of what is most popular among your team.

Other features involve moving cards around, renaming your categories, and setting an agenda. Fun Retro is a fairly new tool and is actively in development — which you can totally contribute to — so new features should be coming down the pipeline in the future!

To be honest, I haven’t looked very far for any other tools, but Fun Retro fell into my lap a few months ago and works perfectly for our team.

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