Mathew Cropper

March 4, 2021

From the archives: A Snapchat inspired retro format

Originally published: February 23, 2019

A previous incarnation of this blog carried a post on how we experimented with a Snapchat style retro format back in 2017. This week I spent a lot of time thinking about retrospectives, and after reminiscing about this particular one and how fun it was, I decided to bring it back to life here.

Below is the original post copied over verbatim.

I work with two Engineering teams here at Zendesk, and with both we try to keep the format of our retrospectives flexible and fun. This week we tried something new, and I'd like to share it with you. It's a Snapchat-inspired retro format.

The structure of the retro was simple:

  • No laptops, but a phone with a camera was required.
  • Everyone will share two pieces of feedback or observations (one positive, one constructive).
  • Everyone will also share one thank you.
  • The only way to communicate your feedback and thanks is via a Snapchat-like photo. The thank you must be a selfie.
  • Once each photo is ready, share it with whoever is facilitating the retro.
  • Once all the 'snaps' are in, get them up on a screen and discuss them.
  • Leave time to discuss things that might not have made it into a photo.
  • Capture actions as you go, and summarise at the end.

We allotted the following timings:

  • 5 mins intro (and time to download an app for annotating photos if folks didn't have one).
  • 15 mins to leave the room, take photos, construct masterpieces.
  • 30 mins to discuss said masterpieces.
  • 15 mins for 'other' discussion points and to summarise actions.

The result was a very fun hour, with lots of creativity and humour. Below is a screenshot of the gallery we ended up with (with some stuff blocked out to protect the innocent).