Every project should have a retrospective meeting. In this meeting, you gather with your team and other stakeholders to review an entire project from start to finish. The goal is to review successes and challenges so that you can better understand what you should continue doing in the future and what you may need to adjust.

Josh Purvis, the chief product officer and co-founder at Assembly, says retrospective meetings are also helpful because they can encourage trust and transparency, increase creativity and productivity, and streamline feedback and team communication.

In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we outline Purvis’ guidance on running retrospective meetings.

Prepare in advance. Determine who will participate in the retrospective and then create a detailed project report. Purvis says this should highlight major milestones and metrics for measuring success and failure.

Choose the right setting. To get the most out of the meeting, try to hold the retrospective somewhere relaxing and as free of distractions as possible. Also, try to create an atmosphere that fosters trust and respect so that everyone feels comfortable sharing, Purvis says.

Highlight successes. This is great to do right after introductions. Take a moment to call attention to each individual’s achievements and encourage them to do it again.

Address relevant issues. Now that the meeting is in full swing, Purvis says it’s time to delve into the meeting agenda. Review project facts and point out any issues. He also recommends asking participants to discuss their thoughts on their desired outcome versus the project’s actual outcome.

Ask for feedback. At this point in the retrospective, let the conversation flow more freely. The group may want to discuss what they learned or what they may want to try in the future.

Make actionable plans. As the meeting winds down, be sure to document next steps. What are the most important ideas and takeaways for future projects? Purvis says it’s important to specify the responsibilities and timelines for each task.

Retrospective meetings can bring many benefits, including an opportunity for everyone to share their feedback. At their core, these discussions can lead to growth and improvement. Whether you’re just beginning to hold retrospectives, or you want to resume the practice after taking some time off, follow the guidance above to plan and run the most effective retrospective meetings.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Josh Purvis is the chief product officer and co-founder at Assembly, a software platform that automates workflows.