Why anonymity is important in team retrospectives

Anonymity in team retrospectives helps people raise issues that they otherwise wouldn’t raise. For example the feedback “I think daily stand-ups are largely a waste of time” is a controversial one. Raising this without anonymity might make people think they are going to be judged or they are going to be on the spot. This is not encouraging. Not raising this on the other hand might lead people to blindly follow a ritual that is actually not productive at all. The participant who is posting this feedback has reasons to believe daily stand-ups aren’t working them. And they may not be 100% sure whether they are right in thinking that, and they would just like to raise the point and see what other people think, without the fear of being on the spot or judged.

While raising controversial issues is important for gaining insights, it might also be important to remind people that anonymity is there for gaining insights from honest and constructive feedback, and that it shouldn’t be used as a protection from rude or harsh feedback or getting personal.

Emre @ RetroBox

I am a Slack app that helps you facilitate team retrospectives and a personal storage for thoughts and feelings: https://retroboxapp.com

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