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What's a Retro?

Kerri Tutton

A 'Retro' stands for Retrospective, which means to look back on or deal with past events or situations.  To run a Retro, usually means waiting until the end of an event, project or milestone to then commit some focussed quality time on reviewing 3 simple items;

  • What worked?
  • What didn't work?
  • How can I make it better?

This simple process is an excellent method for finding the gold and it is also a fantastic method to extract the elements that didn't work so well, creating you the opportunity to see how you could make it better.  

By consistently running a Retro amongst your business you will create a healthy pattern in reviewing work for the best possible outcome as well as increasing your abilities to see the positive in all you do, progressing forward creating ideas to perfect your service, your products and your business processes.

Step One : What worked?

This is when you would breakdown what actions you would you definitely do again.  Thinking about the Yes factor.  Yes this worked, why did it work? Was it about the timing? The quality? The impact, the audience, the process or the pattern? Who is qualifying the YES? Is that you for an internal process or your customer through a survey?  Find the little wins and celebrate them regularly.  This is the key to staying in the creative game with a positive mental attitude.

A great example could be the communications you have with your customers.  On review you may be particularly fast and super friendly to respond to new orders which you know is definitely working as you are receiving feedback for a fast and wonderful service.  So you keep this in mind and create criteria's for 'when' and 'how' you get in touch with a customer and you formulate this into your business process.

Step Two: What didn't work?

You were so fast on setting up your shipping cost section online that you ended up out of pocket on an order.  On analysis you realised you had a national postage cost duplicated in the international postage.  This doesn't work well for your profits.  You have a difficult choice, either absorb the cost as your mistake or ask the customer for more money.  Down the track you are now armed with the correct costs so you can update your shipping prices to prevent future profit loss or an awkward conversation with a customer.  To prevent this happening again, you may even put a double checker process in place.

Step Three: How can I make it better?

Because you have taken the time out to review your shipping process you spot an opportunity to add something new to the mix.  You asked yourself, how can I make this better? Is there a way I can get repeat business from my super happy customers?  So you brainstorm some idea's which results in you popping discount codes in with you customer's order to keep your customers returning feeling even happier because they were given a sweet deal.

The Retro is a magnificent tool to use and it extends out to real life too.  You know those moments when you had an interaction that doesn't end up feeling too good.  That's the time to do a retro, have a think about how you could have made that situation work differently or better, because I guarantee, you will probably get a second chance at it sooner rather than later.

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Related Reads (coming soon)

5 Biz processes to rock a retro

The Retro that closed my business down

How a Retro is the pathway to an epiphany 

The non negotiable Retro Rule No. 1