Running a remote Agile Retrospective on Google Slides | Daniel Susser | Skillshare

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Running a remote Agile Retrospective on Google Slides

teacher avatar Daniel Susser, Agile Coach and Educator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Getting started with Google Slides

    • 3. Setting up your slides

    • 4. Make your slides editable

    • 5. Set up fixed backgrounds

    • 6. Running the check in

    • 7. Running the main activity

    • 8. Running the actions

    • 9. Dot voting

    • 10. Summary and Project

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About This Class

An Agile Retrospective is a way to help any team improve the way they work, to be more productive, happier and get better results. 

Nowadays it's important to be able to run a retrospective for your teams, even if they are working remotely. Google Slides is a fantastic tool which can be used to run engaging and democratic retrospectives to hear all the voices in the team and make improvements to how the team works. 

In this class I'll be sharing my approach to running retrospectives on Google Slides with my own teams, as well as the handy hints and tricks I use to make the process as seamless as possible. 

We'll be covering: 

  1. Getting started with Google Slides
  2. Setting up the board
  3. Fixing the sharing settings on the board so that everyone can collaborate
  4. Setting background images so that only the things you want to move will move
  5. Running the check-in, main section and actions
  6. Dot Voting

This is a really practical class that should give you the confidence you need to run a retrospective for your team, using Google Slides. Thanks for joining!

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Daniel Susser

Agile Coach and Educator


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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Daniel Sasa Ajar, coach and educator, and welcome to today's class on how to run an agile retrospective using Google slides. An agile retrospective is a meeting where a team comes together, works out what's going wrong, what's going right and how they can work together better in the future, regardless of what they're working on. So if you're involved in a team that needs to improve, which is any team, because any team can improve that an agile retrospective is for you and in today's world, with more and more people working online and not being co located, not living in the same room. Being ableto have these agile retrospectives online remotely is incredibly important. But you don't wanna have to learn tons of different tools and technologies and teach the teams how to use that. You want something easy and free ideally, so that's why today's retrospective class is using Google slides. Google's lines. It's free, It's easy. It's collaborative. Andi, you can use it to run a fantastic retrospective to help your team improve, so I'm going to be sharing my tips for how I run retrospectives remotely for my teams. For a technology company in the UK, and you can apply it for any team that you're working on. I'm going to be sharing some templates on DSA insider tricks that you can take back to wherever your context is on. For the class project, you'll be coming up with your own retrospective and running there and sharing back on your results. So if you're ready, let's jump in. 2. Getting started with Google Slides: So today's class is going to start on good old Google. I'm going to assume you have a Google account already. If you don't use Google to find out how to do that type in. How do I set up a Google account or fiddle around until you've got one and then come back and start here? So to start, the first super trick that I'm gonna give you is that if you have a Google account, you can type in slides dot knew into your address bar on and it'll give you a new Google Slides presentation, which is fantastic because it's super simple. So we have here in MT. Presentation, and the first thing we're going to do is just delete all off the template on the format of this is going to be. We're going to use that shapes as if they were posted notes on One of the great things about Google slides is that more than one person can edit a slide presentation at the same time, so this means if you have lots of post it notes, as it were on the slide, lots of people can move them around, and then it's like being in a room with a pack of post it notes, with a lot of people collaborating. So I like using Google slides for my retrospectives because it's free. It's collaborative. You can have more than one person. You have the whole team up to 100 people collaborating on one slide at the same time. It's easy to use Google have designed this thing really well, Andi. It's really easy to share the results afterwards. 3. Setting up your slides: So let's start with creating our first post it note. So I create a rectangle like this, and I make it the color of a post it note. The reason I do that is toe remind people that this is the sort of thing we're doing is if we're writing down ideas on little post it, I make this sort of yellow. Or if you're feeling a bit more garish, you could do a fluorescent yellow like that. Let's leave that. And then, in order to really give it the impression of being a post it note, stuck on a wall, I right click. I go to former options and I click Drop shadow if you look that makes it look like it's hovering a little bit above the page. So this is the basic unit that we're going to be using today in Google Slides to be able to run on retrospective post it notes. So what I do is I click it Press Control C and Control V. A couple of times now I have is a few post it notes that people can drag around. We're going to set up three parts of this retrospective. The first is going to be the check in going right. Check in. We're gonna make a new slide. Next time I press control em. That this one, we're going to cool main activity. Let's get this over here. I'm gonna press control em to give me a new slide on this one. We're going to call actions. So remember, the point of this is not toe right. A presentation to show the team. The point of this is to build a white board type thing that the team can collaborate on. So for our activities, I'm going to pick something really basic because the idea of this class is not how to go on a fantastic retrospective in general or there. Hopefully, some of that good practice will come out. The idea is to show you how to run one on Google slides. So I'll show you some basic ideas for check in for a main activity and the capturing actions. And then how to use Google slides to achieve that with your team and will save really exciting other formats for retrospectives for a future class where I can go into a lot more detail and give you some more tips. What I like to do for the check in is asked each of the people coming to the class to write one word that's represented the last couple of weeks for them, and the reason I do this is because it's really important. If you have a team of people coming together to reflect and to improve that, everyone gets a chance to speak at the beginning. If you jump straight in with how can we improve, then some of the shy people who are less likely to speak out won't have had their voice heard it'll, and they'll be less likely to say anything later on. So one of the really important principles in a retrospective is to make it inclusive to all different people, with all different tendencies about how much they'll talk and to help it be more democratic and and make it harder for people to take over and to silence other people. So the first thing is to get everyone talking. So another tip for you is that with these Post it notes, make sure the text is really small, so I select them all, and I make sure the text is really small so, like 10 or nine. And the reason is if people are writing things, I think this thing over here, you want to give them enough room to be able to say what they want to say. So complete that. So for the checking activity, you can write the instructions on the slide. You can say, Please write one word that describes how the last a couple of weeks waas figure and one thing you can do is you can make this box a little bit smaller, or you can move it so that it's easier to deal with. So this is how toe do a check in activity on Google Slides. You put post it notes for each of the team members to use and and when they come online, you're going to say, Please write a word in each of these post it notes for the main activity. We're going to do what's called a stop start. Continue. So this goes like this. You ask the team similarly, using post it notes to come up with some ideas for things that the team should stop doing things that the team should start doing. Andi things that the team should continue doing so over here. I'm just pressing control C control V to copy and paste these text boxes to give me his options here. We're going to give the team an opportunity to talk about things that are getting in the way for them, that they think we should stop things that would be really good ideas to help the team improve, that they want the team to start doing and things that the team is already doing really well that they should continue doing similar leader before we can copy and paste some of these post it notes control. See, we want this slide and press control V and we can give the team control C and give them a load of post it notes for each section. Control C control V see and control. And finally, we're going to have some space on the final slide where you can record action so you might have a conversation during the stop start Continue section where people come up with great ideas on an idea for an action or something that you can take away and do might surface as well, in which case you need a space to be able to record that. So I'm going to also put some post it notes on this slide over here. So if you have your check in set up and you have your activity and you have your action set up, you are ready to run your retrospective. Your board is ready to go. 4. Make your slides editable : The one extra tip I would give you is to make sure that you do your sharing settings in advance. And the reason for this is that by default, Google Slides doesn't necessarily let you share or let lots of people edit one slide debt. You have to change those settings, and it can be really disruptive if the team arrives in the retrospective and you share the link to this Google Slides document and they'll say, Oh, I couldn't access it. I needed to request permission. So my advice on I've learned this the hard way many times is to sort out the sharing settings in advance. And you do that by clicking share on the top, right? You have to name the presentations who will call it a team retrospective. I like to put a date on it so that we can see which retrospective it waas. So I'm going to put 0507 2020. That's the British format for dates, and I'm gonna click safe, and then it comes up with this box called Share with Groups and People. So what I do is go to the get link bit and click this to say changed anyone with links at the moment. By default, the presentation is restricted that only people and it could open the link. Where is what I might want to do is make it easier by just making the whole document open. Now I feel dealing with something that's really sensitive or really confidential. You may not want to open it to everyone on the Internet who gets past this link to be able to edit. You might want to add people individually for me. I assume that the only people with this link would be interested in adding stuff will be people that I trust. So I got anyone on the Internet, and your own organization may have policies about what you can and can't share, so make sure you adhere to those. So when you're done with that, you clicked on, and now you can just copy this link to people, or you can, um, or you can click copy link over here, and then you can send that in an email. You can send that in a zoom message. You concerned that in lots of ways, if you want, you could write it down. Don't that 5. Set up fixed backgrounds: So now that we're set up, I'm going to give you one handy hint, and that is when you have lots of people collaborating on a slide deck. You want them to be able to move these, post it notes around right and move them into lots of different places. And there will be lots of fun. But you don't want to move these boxes because that guest was disruptive. You want people to put their post it notes in these columns, and if they can move the information text, let's say then that could be disruptive. So I have another handed him for you on that. So you press control em on. What we're going to do is create a picture off the board that we want them to use with the fixed bits there. And we're going to use that as the background of the slide, which can be edited, so I'll show you what I mean, and it's really easy. So you select all the things that you want to be on that background that can't be moved, so we're gonna copy. I'm going to paste them. I'm going toe, line them up. Here's another helpful hints I'm gonna select the more click arrange click a line top, but on your part to the same thing you see over here, they will just read it differently. So we're going to click range, distribute horizontally. I'm showing you these because these are really helpful hints regardless of what type of meeting you're trying to run. But if you're trying to organize a slide, that's really helpful. I'm gonna give them some lines just as guidelines toe know where to put the post it notes that would be helpful to we're going toe, make a line here, make sure it lines up who that'll do. Control V control C Control V Another line there. And now we're going to download this slide as a picture. Where you do that is you go file download as a J peg. And what it does is it saves this. It saves this slide onto your computer as a picture. So we're gonna call it Just leave it like that team retrospective press save. If you're using chrome, it'll come up over here with the picture that we've just selected. So what we're going to do now, we're going to delete this going to click background. And here it says image. And what you can do is you can pick an image as your background, and we're gonna pick a really boring image, the one we just made, but a really useful one. I'm gonna drag that picture from the download's bar at the bottom to the insert background image tool. And now when we click done, you can see that all the things that we put in that previous slider here. But I can't select them regardless of how many times I grit my teeth and try, which is really helpful. Because now, if I select all these post it notes and put them here, I can get the team to collaborate on this slide without wiring that they will by mistake, move this line. This was absolute game changer when I discovered you could do that. So I hope I hope this is a really helpful tip to you. So I'm gonna move this slide up here. I'm going to delete this. I'm goingto leave this checking one here because it's not so complicated and life's too short to put background images for your slides. But depending on how thorough you are, you might want her. I put well. The instruction text is backgrounds 6. Running the check in: So how do you run the session? So the first thing I do is I share the link Now that the setting was let it be edited by anyone. Andi I invite them to this board and you'll see that at the top here, the names of the people arrive when they click into the link. So if you've got eight people, you're expecting to be in the meeting and you've only got six little icons over here. You know that someone's missing, so make sure that everyone can see it. And I say to them, Here are some boxes for you. Please fill in one word that describes how the last couple of weeks waas on each person grabs a box when you should hopefully see them or moving around as people collaborate on and they write a word, Maybe they're right. Fantastic. Maybe someone else will, Right. Rubbish. You're terrible. Someone else will, right, mayor. But the point is that each person gets one word to describe what they felt during the last couple of weeks of working together. And then you ask each person in turn, who wrote Fantastic. Someone says I really fantastic in the new invite them if they want to say another couple of words about why they put that. But I find this could be really powerful activity to just get them toe, summarize and reflect on what's happened over the last couple of weeks. So this should take depending on the size of the team between five and 15 minutes to give everyone a chance to talk and toe land in the zone, situate themselves in that meeting and begin thinking about what happened to that team recently. 7. Running the main activity: The next thing we do is we move them on to slide to you, say everyone, please can move to slide to and introduced the activity You say we have ah column here for Stop column here for starting a column here for continue. And then it's up to you as the facilitator. How many post its You want people to fill in, But what I tend to do for my teams is say, please, can everyone fill in at least one Post it note for each column, so I want everyone to come up with at least one stop themselves. One start on, one continued. You might want to put an upper limit as well, so please don't put more than three. Or please don't put more than two post. It's for each one, because if you've got a team of 10 people and each person puts three stops and three starts and three continues, you'll never be able to get through them all. So I like to put upper limit, and it forces them to focus on the issues that are really important to them. So again, over the next couple of minutes, I give the team a bit of silent timeto think and to reflect and to write down the ideas that are important to them. On again, you see all the post it notes moving around as people have their ideas. Sometimes people write something. They go, please start being nice to me, and then they might change him behind and you can see them go up some please. The start collaborating and they sort of correct themselves, and that's completely OK. It's within their right as team members to share the words and to share the ideas that they want to. So by the end of this little period, you'll have many post it notes filled with gray ideas on. What I do at that point is I start to group the Post, it notes, according to similar themes. So if everyone agrees that the team has been really terrible at arriving on time to meetings, you might have a few post it notes that say, Stop being late or someone might have said, Stop missing the star of meetings or someone might have said start being on time. This is how it can often work, that lots of people will say in a nice way. So you know someone else might say Please continue being on time. Those that are dr dot Alan, we know how you could be late. So we start grouping these things together that when we can have the discussion or the same ideas in the same place. So what I might do is even take something from the start Khanum and put it in the stop column. If it's on the same theme as facilitator, it's your right toe. Move things between column. If the team complain about that, then again use your discretion about whether you want yes, about whether you want to listen to them and keep things in the columns they were intended . So then what I do is I take all of the clusters and we go through them one by one to have a conversation. So you say this and stuff here about being late. What do you think? And as facilitator, it's not my job to say Yes, I agree. Everyone's late. It's terrible. The time your job is to say, you guys have put this under stop. How can we do that? Let's talk a bit about that and let the team do the analysis on again as the facilitator. What you wanted to is whenever you see an idea for something that could be really concrete emerge, say we capture that as an action. So let's say we're having a conversation about being late and the team decide. You know, it could be a great idea to stop people. Being late is that if you're late, you have to donate a pound or a dollar to charity for every minute that your late and we'll keep a spreadsheet there. So if you hear that sort of idea, come out or any idea you go to the slides with actions on it. And you said, you mind if I capture that as an actions than you, right? £1. I'm gonna say £1 Mrs units of British business £1 fine for being late and what I like to do. Because again, I'm there with the consent of the people down there to help them not put words into announced. I say sorry is okay if we just check. What I've written down is an action that you're okay with that. But that's what you meant. So I say I've written down here £1 fine for being late on. And another thing that I like to do when I'm running this meeting is to share my screen so that people can follow along. So I might say, if they're if they're sharing their screen and they've stopped writing stuff themselves, they might look at my screen and see that I've written that. And then someone could say, Actually, no, it's not a good idea. Or, actually, yes, it's a £1 fine for being late on day. I wanted to compound by an extra pound for every five minutes there late afternoon or whatever, so we go back. We work through all of these topics until you've spoken about them and come out with some actions, and you wanna get the balance right between having a focused conversation when you can talk about a few important things whilst not letting it take forever. Otherwise, you're retrospectives will drag 8. Running the actions: And then at the end, when you've had all these conversations and as you go, you've bean collecting the actions so one could be stop sending silly emails on and the other one could be. The action is talk to the boss about giving us more time for the work or whatever. The thing is that the team need to improve, it might be Collaborate mawr with other departments. Now the idea of a retrospective is to come up with really good ideas that the team can actually take forward. So if you see something that says, Stop sending silly emails that something that's within the teams control and therefore it's possible for them to stop and you can hold them to that in two weeks time, you can sit down in another retrospective and say, Did we stop sending silly emails? But if you have an action that's quite Willie like collaborate with other departments, you might say to them, How can we collaborate more with other departments in the next two weeks? And normally teams will have really good ideas about how to be specific. That's you say, tell me something that we can do and we can come back to it in two weeks time and say that we have done it. It won't have achieved all of collaboration, but it would have started and then they might say things like, Well, we could We could invite finance to our next planning session. Great. And that's something that will improve collaboration but is actionable is doable in the next couple of weeks. So you want to make sure that all of your actions are something that can actually be done then you ask is all right if I get rid of this on, I like to be really fastidious with asking permission before I delete or add ideas. Because if someone in my team suggests an idea, collaborate more than I as the facilitator go, Yeah, we're just gonna get rid of that. That can feel like they're being silenced and asking permission to be ableto run. The meeting well is a really good way of gaining their trust, Andi, helping them be heard and have an opportunity to make sure that what is being written down is what they've actually said. 9. Dot voting: So the last thing I want to show you is when you're running the action section, you might find the You've got lots of actions to choose from. If you've had a really productive conversation, you should have lots of different things that the team conduce in the near future. So let's save here. You've got talk to the design team about better designs, and over here you've got get more freelances. And over here, you've got give a company meeting about work, whatever the options are for the team. So if you've got too many things to take on and you only want a couple an ideal amount of actions to take forward for a team is, however many actions you can actually do. So I try and limit my teams 23 or four. What you can do is vote the way you vote is you make little dots, Andi, where not I'm in a really life retrospective. I like to give my team members little circular stickies, which they can put on post it. Notes. I say you've got three stickies each stick them on the post. It notes that you want to vote for it is called dot voting, so you can use Google slides to facilitate dot voting. You can make these little black dots here we go and copy and paste loads of them and say to the assembled team, I'd like you now that we've got all the actions and we're gonna narrow them down to a few really important ones. Each person can drag three dots onto Post It notes that they choose. You can either drag all three onto one or you can do one on a three. They're important to you, but you get these three votes. Distribute them however you like, and you say to the team dragged the morning. Then we'll see what's available on. We'll see which one wins. So then they do the dragging. They do the voting. If you trust your team, then you will trust that they use the right man of votes each. And don't Greek the election. On. By the end of the voting session, you'll find that a couple off the Post it notes have got MAWR votes on than the others. So let's say lows of people converted. Forget more freelancers on only a couple of people who voted for talk to the boss about giving us more time to do the work on. No one's actually voted for the £1 lake. Fine, then you know, which are the actions that most important to the team and you can help them focus so you can also use Google slides to facilitate voting or actions. 10. Summary and Project: Shin's. So that's it. For now, there are lots of other formats on. What I'm going to do is share this template as an empty template for you to be able to run a retrospective on it. And what I want you to do for your project is to copy this template or toe edit this template, or to come up with your own retrospective format that's a bit funkier that pops a bit more that has a few more pictures that has a few more interesting activities and art shares and classes soon in the near future about what some of those ideas might be. Andi, I want you to run a retrospective with your team using Google slides, and I want you to share the results in the discussion of this video so other people can see what great work you've done. And I've seen in my organization that just running a couple of retrospective on Google slides has led to lots of teams now using Google slides for this sort of work because people think it's just a slide deck on. Then when you show them there's another application, then before you know it, people are starting to spread the tools in accordance with their needs. So I wish you the best of luck. Thank you for joining this class and have great retrospectives and help build amazing teams .