Retrospective Facilitator Gathering

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Suits in the retrospective

Convener: François

Participants: Kai, Aino, Oana, Ilja

  • Starting rule for suits (somewhat unsatisfactory): DON'T invite them. Covers the concern of team safety, but inhibits conversations that might be fruitful.

Alternative ways of dealing with them: bring them in as

  • active listeners (see caveats / prep needs below) or
  • participants

Suits as facilitators is definitely a bad idea, as the facilitator sometimes needs to act as a firewall.


  • Suits tend to have a different value system
  • Not every outcome is measurable

Active Listener role challenges & suggested antidote (seen from facilitator perspective)

Challenge: missing safety - hierarchy interferes with openness level of team
  • Antidote: meet with suit to clarify how to signal the dropping of hierarchical insignia/mindset
  • Antidote: have the team choose a suit who they feel safe with
Challenge: missing empathy - suit interacts with team in Command&Control mode
  • Antidote: learning by doing: put the suit in the team's shoes by holding a retrospective with the Management team (including his boss)
Challenge: missing trust - team uneasy about suit's note taking during the retrospective
  • Antidote: have the suit take notes (ToDo for him) publicly (eg flipchart, whiteboard)
Challenge: missing follow-up - suit doesn't do his homework between retrospectives
  • Antidote: hold a one-on-one review meeting with the suit, clarifying his commitments
Challenge: missing commitment - suit just wants actionable conclusions, doesn't want to participate
  • Antidote: ask suit for criteria on outcomes(“how are you going to act on this?”) & forward to team so they can come up with the best shape&form for this action


  • Special care needed if the suit plays a role in the performance evaluation of team members
  • Some companies (abroad…) just value learning as long as it doesn't cost anything - discuss the ROI of learning with Management
tu2.2.txt · Last modified: 2018/10/27 07:58 (external edit)