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Supercharge Your GitHub Retrospectives With These Tools
Published:Oct 11, 2022

Supercharge Your GitHub Retrospectives With These Tools

Retrospectives are a critical component of the agile process. It helps developers understand what worked and what didn’t to become better at what they do.

But running an effective and efficient retrospective is easier said than done.

Do you have the right data to inform your decisions? Do you have an effective way to manage feedback? How will you run check-in meetings and follow up with your team?

The good news is that you can use various retrospective tools to conduct effective retrospectives, so the process doesn’t turn into a time-consuming chore that nobody wants to do.

What Should You Expect From Your Retrospective Tools?

What Should You Expect From Your Retrospective Tools?

Your retrospective tools should support the process by:

  1. Creating an environment that encourages everyone to share their ideas.
  2. Allowing you to gather and organize feedbackall in one place.
  3. Enabling team members to vote on the ideas and prioritize them.
  4. Compiling action lists with improvements your team can implement.

Your retrospective tools should help you:

Equalize Feedback

Some people are naturally more vocal than others. But it doesn’t mean that quiet team members don’t have good ideas to share.

An effective retrospective tool ensures that everyone’s opinion is heard and weighted equally, so the team doesn’t develop an unbalanced view of an issue.

Prevent Chaos

A discussion can get chaotic when everyone voices their thoughts. Without a system to organize the feedback, the retrospective could turn into a confusing and frustrating experience.

Use a retrospective tool that can help you categorize feedback and identify themes and patterns to inform a solution.

Eliminate Groupthink

If you put everyone in a room and someone starts voicing a strong opinion, it’s easy for the team to get sucked into groupthink that prevents them from seeing alternatives.

An ideal retrospective tool should allow you to gather feedback independently, asynchronously, and even anonymously to gain different perspectives.

7Pace: The Best Retrospective Tool for Data Insights and Time Tracking

A critical component of an effective retrospective is comparing the estimated effort with the actual work done at a granular level, so you can see where the roadblocks are and how you can improve the process.

7pace has created a metric—pace—to help developers understand how long it takes them to complete a task or a project.

You can take the total time spent on a task recorded by the software and compare it to the estimate you have entered earlier to calculate pace.

You can then evaluate how well the actual work aligns with the estimations to identify issues and improve future sprints. If the pace of a sprint deviates significantly from the team’s average, you can take a closer look at it to address any issues promptly.

Unlike other time recording tools, 7pace for GitHub enables developers to track their time directly on the platform. It then automatically associates the time with each work item on GitHub, so developers don’t have to log time in a separate software as an afterthought.

The granularity of the reports can help you pinpoint time sinks and inefficiencies while giving team members the visibility they need to create more accurate estimations.

7pace for GitHub

Geekbot: The Best Retrospective Tool for Feedback Management

After receiving feedback from everyone, you need to make sense of all the ideas, turn them into actionable insights, and implement improvements.

Geekbot allows team members to share their feedback independently and asynchronously via Slack. This method helps equalize the opinions and enables remote team members to participate in a retrospective when it’s most convenient for them.

The software then compiles the responses and shares them on a dedicated Slack channel so everyone can see the feedback and collaborate on an action plan.

Its natural language processing (NLP) capabilities can also analyze the feedback and follow up with team members to gather high-quality input while ensuring that everyone gets heard.


Parabol: The Best Retrospective Tool for Running Retrospectives

Streamline your process by using templates built on the latest best practices so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel at every turn.

Parabol is a free, open-source web app that integrates with Jira and GitHub. It helps you conduct guided retrospective and check-in meetings in real-time or asynchronously.

You can use the retrospective templatesto conduct anonymous reflections, multi-player grouping and voting, and guided discussions to come up with the next steps.

The software allows you to create GitHub issues during the retrospective without leaving the meeting. You can streamline the process while making sure issues get addressed right away.

Additionally, you can easily forward meeting summaries and follow up with team members. This helps everyone stay in the loop and know that their concerns are addressed.


Other Retrospective Tools to Consider

Different teams have different needs. You can mix and match various tools to augment your retrospective meetings:

Mind Maps

Mind maps can help add a brainstorming component to the retrospective process to facilitate creative input and problem-solving when your team is trying to devise complex solutions. The most common mind maps used in retrospectives are flowchart and dialogy map.

It’s important to keep the discussion focused and translate the insights into actionable items to prevent the conversation from turning into chaos.

Some mind mapping tools you can consider are Miro, Mindmup, Lucidchart, and Milanote.

Team Analyzers

Team members who are dissatisfied with their work can cause a team to struggle. However, they may not voice their issues openly, and the pent-up frustration could impact collaboration.

You can unearth these issues by gathering input from anonymous surveys. You can also analyze communications to get a pulse on team morale.

Software such as Geekbot, TeamMood, and Officevibe can help you gauge your team’s sentiment.

Digital Whiteboards

These tools allow you to edit and rearrange ideas during a discussion for an interactive retroactive session.

However, the flexibility can also lead to clutter and chaos if the meeting isn’t led by an experienced scrum master who can keep ideas organized and turn them into actionable items.

Whiteboard services you can try include Limnu, AWW, and Stormboard.

Criteria For Selecting Your Retrospective Tools

Your retrospective tools should have features that’ll allow you to do the following:

  • Use a preset or customizable template to structure the retrospective.
  • Encourage idea exchange with collaboration features.
  • Enable employees, whether on-site or remote, to participate equally.
  • Leverage different retrospective exercises to keep the process engaging.
  • Empower team members to divide up responsibilities and take action.
  • Integrates with GitHub to streamline workflows.

Regardless of the tools you choose, the foundation of an effective retrospective is accurate information on what happened during a sprint. 7pace for GitHub gives you the granular data so team members know exactly how they spend their time to inform decisions.

Sign up for 7pace for Github to supercharge your retrospective meeting with accurate data-driven insights.

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