Onboarding New Members to Your Retros
Over the last year or so, it has become easier for us to have our work meetings online, thanks to better tech and openness to remote work. It is a great way to keep in touch with the business and your colleagues without being in the same room. Although this method of conducting meetings might be convenient, it becomes a challenge to conduct retrospective meetings without everyone present in the room to add to the discussion.
Adding new members to your agile retrospectives becomes a difficult task for the scrum masters and project managers, especially since it has never been done before. But if you are a facilitator looking to successfully onboard new members to your retrospectives, here are a few ways you can make the entire process a little easier and more engaging for your team.
Showing New Members the Ropes
Onboarding is the process of introducing new members to and integrating them into a team. Onboarding is not only about hiring new staff and conducting an orientation, it is also about how you welcome the new members into an agile team in a way they truly become a part of it.
This is not impossible to do but it does get challenging for team leaders to integrate new members into a team, especially if all of the team meetings are conducted online. A remote retrospective is a competent way for scrum masters to provide a platform for all the team members to engage in and discuss ideas while they learn from past mistakes.
The first task for the scrum masters is to introduce the new members to the company’s unique culture. Showing them how things work, introducing them to other team members, updating them about current projects, and going over the goals of the company is a good start to making them feel welcome in their new role.
Strategies for Welcoming New Members to Your Retrospectives
The task of onboarding new members to an agile project team is the responsibility of a project manager. The new additions to the team must be handled well because there is a lot at stake. Members who have not been welcomed to the team properly may feel left out, find themselves unable to connect with other team members, be less efficient at work, and eventually put the success of the project at risk.
There are a few steps you can take to welcome new members to your team:
Make All the Necessary Introductions
When onboarding a new member to your agile team, it is your responsibility to inform the client and the rest of the team about the addition to avoid awkward questions and misunderstandings. Conveying the responsibility of the new member to the rest of the team and making sure they have access to all the necessary equipment and software is also important to make them feel welcome to the team.
Making these introductions will help the new members become comfortable with the working environment which will help them partake in the remote retrospectives.
Pair the New Members with an Older, Experienced Member of the Staff
Pairing involves two members of a team working towards the completion of one task synchronously. Pairing is a great way for two people to exchange their knowledge and share the load of a project. If you have new members on your team, try pairing your novice worker with an experienced member of the staff who will enable them to learn a lot of formal and informal knowledge. This will help them become more independent, confident, and partake more in future retrospectives.
Make Them Feel Involved
The key to making your agile retrospectives engaging for old and new members alike is to keep them engaged. A few people on your team will be outspoken and confident while others might be shy. Make sure to provide room for everyone to speak and keep the new members in the loop.
Another way to keep the new members engaged in the retrospectives is to reinforce that the meeting is a safe space for everyone to contribute their ideas towards exposing issues and how to fix them in upcoming projects. It also helps to address the new members in the beginning and encourage them to speak up, too.
Introduce them to the Team’s Culture
It is best to show the new member what the team's culture looks like. Integrate the values, best practices, and collaboration methods within them so that they have an easier time becoming part of the team and their culture as well. Becoming a part of the team’s culture will help the project run smoothly so that its progression is not compromised.
Make Sure Everyone is Involved and Focused
After a new member has been introduced to the team, the most effective way to monitor how the process is going is to have a retrospective. Encourage the new member to talk about the difficulties they are facing settling in, whether they have any concerns, and ask about how things are generally. During this retrospective, ensure that everybody in the team participates in sharing their insights on the progress of the new member. This will help you create a positive and nurturing environment for the new members and they will feel valued and welcomed.
We are all adapting to the new world and in doing so, we have to forget a lot of the old practices and find space for new ones. Team retrospective meetings are a great way for scrum masters to pinpoint the problems and work towards success.
These retros are open and accommodating a new member can be a tricky process. But the key strategy is to keep the new member involved, aware and welcome in the group as well as in the retrospective meetings. This will not only build confidence in the new members but also make the teamwork efficient and smooth during a project.