Ever been part of a retro where a single team member (or sometimes the product owner) dominated the conversation? It’s not uncommon so know that you’re not alone. But how can we get the rest of the team involved and how can we encourage our assertive member to spend more time listening to his cohorts? Here are several techniques that have worked for me, and it starts with a conversation I recently had with a co-worker.
This co-worker asked me how much time I spend preparing for some of our company’s ceremonies. My answer:
I usually spend more time preparing team members than preparing for the ceremony.
Since that sounds frighteningly similar to manipulation, let me unpack that a bit. Sometimes team members have a hard time wrapping their heads around the intent or agenda of a particular meeting, like the retro. If I fear that might occur, I like to stay ahead of it by having a few conversations beforehand.