Back in 2007, the art world buzzed with the news that a portrait of Lorenzo De Medici by Raphael was going up for auction (the last time something like that happened was in 1892). It’s a spectacular portrait, and what makes Lorenzo De Medici’s figure glow with even more warmth and richness is the splendid gold frame around it.

Picture frames affect how we view a painting: While a simple frame is nearly invisible or overlooked, a beautifully gilded one can change our entire perspective. The same can be said about how you frame the meetings that your team holds. For example, how do you refer to checkpoint meetings? Do you call them a “postmortem” or a “retrospective”?

Take care: The words you choose have an impact on your team. What you decide to call a meeting sends a signal to them that the meeting will be either a fault-finding session or a productive conversation about what worked and what didn’t.

Make sure retrospective meetings are an opportunity for learning and growth. This can happen whether you’re discussing the team’s failures or their greatest victories. Don’t discriminate. Regardless of the outcome, every project deserves retrospective checkpoints.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t hold a retrospective only when there’s a problem; ingrain it in your methodology so that it’s done after every key milestone/sprint
  • Use checkpoint meetings as an opportunity to celebrate and educate
  • Focus on your team’s improvement, not on individual mistakes
  • Frame every retrospective as an opportunity for growth


Photo credit: Houston Chronicle