Here at Appfire, we eat what we cook. We make sure all apps bring value to the community we serve, and we use our products to make sure they serve users well.

We use our own chat widget (Chat for Jira Service Management). If you have ever contacted our support, Canned Responses Pro might have helped us answer your questions more quickly. And for project planning, we estimate using Agile Poker. We also brainstorm and plan remotely online using the Whiteboards app.

Whiteboards for Jira app was originally created for teams moving to a remote environment, but almost every team in our company uses it. Here you can read how I put Whiteboards into action with some of the marketing team.

Today, I am going to share a short interview with product manager Lex Kovalenko about how their team adopted the Whiteboards app to overcome the challenge of running retrospective sessions after moving to a remote work set up.

What is a Retrospective in project planning?

A Retrospective is a necessary part of our work cycle, both from process and team spirit perspectives.

It is a regular meeting where we discuss three main points in the context of our last sprint:

  • What went well;
  • What could have gone better;
  • What actions we should take to improve the process

Our goal is to gather feedback from the team and form an action plan to improve future sprints.

Can you describe how you ran your team’s retro?

While in the office, my team and I used to run retro meetings in a meeting room with snacks and drinks. We used stickers and a big table or physical whiteboard. Everyone used a sticker for a memorable moment, put it on a sprint timeline (we used a snake drawing as the timeline, I’m not sure why). Other members could see the points and that might have triggered their feelings connected to a moment and add more stickers.

When the board was full of stickers and everyone was ready, the next phase of the retro started: a facilitator distributed the stickers into two columns: “pluses” and “deltas”.

The “Pluses” column stored cards with positive events we wanted to mention and celebrate, while the “Deltas” column had problems we needed to address.

After the discussion, we put the “Deltas” on the Impact/Ability chart. Finally, we converted the top three “Deltas” from the top right quadrant into action points.

What challenges did you face when your team started working remotely?

It’s very tough to recreate the family-like atmosphere we had before, with face-to-face communication, able to observe teammates’ emotions.

We weren’t able to recreate the same collaborative experience while being remote.

However, when Whiteboards for Jira was first rolled out by one of our developers, we found it a great solution for running online Retrospectives.

Retro board re-created in Whiteboards for Jira

We were able to share our feedback about the app, so our own team could improve it. Switching to Whiteboards for online retrospectives was the right decision for our team and for the company in general.

How is your online retro with Whiteboards?

Fantastic! We overcome challenge of identifying teammates emotions by incorporating the ability to add GIFs, memes, pictures, and videos to the board. I’ll leave some images below as an example.

The online collaboration part was also great. Whiteboards’ collaborative approach was like a breath of fresh air. We were able to recreate the collaborative nature of our previous experience, so the whole team was really glad.

Are there any specific features that you use while using Whiteboards that support your team’s activities?

There are many small and big features available in Whiteboards that supported our team during the online retrospective:

1. Grids, lines, the ability to add cards and convert them into action items

2. For every team activity we do in Whiteboards we have a custom template. We use a Retrospective template and it saves a lot of time as the board is ready when we need it to start the meeting.

3. Sometimes we have more than 3 cards with top impact/ability scores and need to select cards to act upon. Voting is very useful and helps us achieve consensus.

4. The ability to convert cards into Jira issues right from the board. It’s perfect for the retro action items- all the points we discuss can be immediately added to our Jira boards, so we don’t need to create them again in Jira manually!

5. Complete freedom of customization. The team enjoys the current process even more than the one we had while working from the office because now there’s room for creativity. As mentioned before, our boards are full of sarcastic pictures, memes, GIFs, videos, or links to highlight specific moods and sprint moments. It’s hilarious!

What were the outcomes of using Whiteboards for Jira?

I’d say the most important part of our retro process is the team collaboration and the personal touch We were missing so much while working from home.

So I’d say the best outcome, apart from the proper work process, is how engaged and united the team remains.

Would you recommend Whiteboards for other companies or teams having the same need?

Sure. I highly recommend Agile teams to try Whiteboards for Jira not only to run their retros but also plannings, brainstorms, standup, and whatever you need help with while working remotely.

Sound interesting? Try Whiteboards for Jira for free!

Last updated: 2023-07-31

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