In my constant struggle to find the best tools for remote work I met goReflect tool and it worked so well I will definitely keep it in my toolbox for some time.
The idea is very simple. goReflect offers an online board that people can add their ideas to. There are few predefined boards (e.g. start/continue/stop) but you can also create your own.
Let me tell you a short story on how we used it (presenting the goReflect features along the way).
Post-mortem / Retrospective
The team I work with has just finished some kind of a project for the first time in our history. I decided to use goReflect to collect our experiences and start a kind of retrospective (or post-mortem) about how it went.
First, I set a custom board with three headings, like this:
Then I sent the invitations (goReflect is free, but you need to create an account) urging my colleagues to add their ideas to each column.
Initially, I used the “mask cards” option, which makes every person see only his/her cards. I believe it makes people think on their own and not copy what others said. After everyone added their cards, I “unmasked cards” and asked everyone to go and up/down-vote and comment on cards.
You can see how it looks like on this (bogus!) example:
After we finished with comments and likes, we had some discussion about the result. It went well.
So, did it work?
Definitely yes! All went smooth and was worth our time.The tool just works, and I really liked the UI which I think looks really good. goReflect is very simple and the overall experience was even better than with retrotool. The masking of cards is a neat idea, and up/down votes and comments also help.
In short, it is a great tool to kick-start a discussion.
Truth to be told, the ambitions of goReflect go even further than one-time discussions. The tool promotes the “continuous retrospectives” idea. They suggest you create a retrospective board not per event but per team. The board is everlasting and team members can add cards whenever they feel like. After each retrospective the cards are achieved, but the board stays and people add cards that will be discussed during the next retro.
I haven’t used this approach (yet), but it sounds interesting to me. If I ever give it a try then I will surely share my experiences.