It seems we found our tool for online retrospectives! It is called TeamRetro and it works fine for us.
It doesn’t differ much from other tools I described previously (goReflect and RetroTool). First you set up a board (using few pre-designed sets of columns or making your own) and invite your team.
Then the retrospective starts. There are six phases:
You start with brainstorm – everybody adds their cards. The facilitator decides if they should see cards added by others at this stage (we keep them hidden at this point so that people don’t stick to ideas already reported by others).
Group – it usually happens that few people added similar cards so now you can group them so that it is more convenient to discuss them in groups. There is some automatic mechanism that tries to do it, but it is useless so you need to do it by hand via drag&drop. It works pretty well.
This is also when the cards are revealed (additionally you can decide if the authors should be visible or not).
Vote. Each of participants casts their vote (AKA “dot voting”) This one is nice as you can vote for groups which makes a lot of sense.
Discuss. At this point the (groups of) cards are sorted by number of votes they received. And the team discusses them. whole point of retrospective, isn’t it?
Review & Share. These two are about writing down your action points & sharing a nice report. We don’t use them as it is simpler to write down action points into google docs.
TeamRetro – Overall Verdict
All in all, the tools is OK. I’m not saying it is significantly better than others but it works fine, looks good, and the pricing is also acceptable.