Introducing tech tools to an online group

Making your work visible is a central tenet of Agile projects. Sharing your work – showing your work to others, at all stages of the project – invites constructive input and active collaboration. It builds trust and stimulates new ideas.

For the Friday Retro program we use a Google Jamboard to share individual retronauts’ answers to the three core questions we explore in each session.

We selected Jamboard because it’s easy for novices to use[1] and doesn’t require any special downloads or plugins. You need a Google account to set up a new Jamboard, but then you can allow anybody to view and edit the board in their web browser, regardless of whether they have an account.[2]

During the Friday Retro kick-off session we allowed a few minutes for participants to have a look at the Jamboard and practise adding a sticky-note and other notations. The image below shows what the group created in less than 5 minutes.

Screenshot of an online whiteboard with several sticky-notes and hand-drawn doodles

Having tried this initial bit of experimentation, people are more confident in using the Jamboard for future retros.

The Jamboard help the group to track their progress, individually and collectively. Over time we will start to see our individual behaviors and activities more clearly – and we’ll see how small changes can lead to better ways of working and thriving.

At the end of the kick-off session we asked the retronauts to think briefly about their own behaviors and attitudes and tasks. We then asked them to send a Zoom Chat message[3] telling the group about one thing that they would like to do differently in the next fortnight.

Having already made some personal connections and played with a more sophisticated piece of tech, our plucky participants had no problem with sharing their personal hopes and challenges via this relatively open channel.

In future Friday Retro sessions the Jamboard will serve as a handy reference, enabling us to see how participants fare with their one small change and with navigating through a period of intense uncertainty and change. It’s not about accountability: it’s about finding ways to help each other make progress towards clarity, one step at a time.

 

[1] It was designed for school kids and teachers

[2] There are several versions of Google Jamboard: a digital whiteboard screen that you can purchase; a downloadable app; and a free web version. We are using the web version, which you can view and edit in any web browser.

[3] See what we did there? Learning new tech skills again. Keep the stakes low and people are usually more willing to give it a try.