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Welcome aboard retrospective — when new team members join

By Rebecca Jones

18 August 2021

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An Agile coach running the Welcome aboard retrospective. Image based on photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

When new members join a team, you can quickly get to full steam ahead by running the Welcome aboard retrospective. You’ll get to know each other, get to know the work and get ideas for ways to support the new crew as they come on board.

When to use this retrospective

Use the Welcome aboard retrospective when:

New members join a team.

What you need

For the Welcome aboard retrospective you need:

  • Whiteboard
  • Post-it notes
  • Sharpies
  • Timer

Time

1 hour

The outcome

The Welcome aboard retrospective is a chance for the team to share what it is like being on the team and share the highlights and biggest learnings with the new team members. Together you’ll identify 1–3 ways to support the new crew. These will be the goals for the sprint ahead.

Setup

Draw up a whiteboard with a Welcome Aboard heading and four columns: Favourite thing, Biggest learning, I wish I knew, and Support. You’re after something like this:

Welcome aboard retrospective whiteboard whiteboard with a Welcome Aboard heading and four columns: Favourite thing, Biggest learning, I wish I knew, and Support.

1. Introductions

Ask the team, including the new members, to introduce themselves one by one.

Each person shares:

  • their role on the team
  • how long they have been on the team
  • how they came to work on the team and at the company
  • what their background is.

2. Favourite thing

Ask existing team members to silently think of their favourite thing about working on the project and with this team, and write this on a post-it.

They then take turns to share their favourite thing and stick the post-it on the board.

1 minute brainstorm

3. Biggest learning

Ask existing team members to note their biggest learning from the project on a post-it.

Take turns to share and stick up the learnings.

2 minute brainstorm

4. I wish I knew…

Ask existing team members to silently brainstorm one thing they wish they knew when they started on the project.

Now they take turns to share and stick up what they wish they’d known.

2 minute brainstorm

5. Support the new team members

Have a team discussion about what the team can do to support the new members in the coming sprint.

Decide on the top 1–3 ideas as your retro goals. We usually do this via affinity mapping and 3,2,1 voting.

Affinity mapping

Silently brainstorm ideas for ways to support the new arrivals, one idea per post-it.

Share and stick up all the post-its on the whiteboard.

As a team, sort into natural groupings and sum up each group with a heading or label. Solo post-its are OK.

2 minute brainstorm

3,2,1 voting

Everyone gets to vote for 3 of the groups. They give their top choice 3 votes (as tally marks beside that group), their next highest 2 votes and their 3rd highest 1 vote.

The groups of support ideas with the most votes become your retro goals.

Agree when each goal should be completed, and who’ll ensure that it is (they don’t need to complete the goal themselves, just make sure it gets done).

6. Close

Pick a close of your choice.

7. Make the goals visible

Post them on your physical board and share them digitally. That’ll help everyone keep them in mind and track that they’ve been done.

Learn more

The art of the retrospective

Retrospective plans for new teams from Parabol

More Boost retro plans

Individual strengths retrospective — reinforce everyone’s contributions

Golden moments retrospective — when a project or phase ends

Development continuum retro — tailor your skill-building

Google Forms remote retro — step-by-step guide with pros and cons

Treasure Island Retrospective — learn what motivates your team

All retrospective ideas

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