User:KSmith (WMF)/Discovery retrospectives proposal



Until now, the Discovery department has had a single monthly hour-long retrospective including all members. The department has grown slowly over the last 10 months, and now 17 people are invited to that meeting. That exceeds the capacity of google hangouts (15), and also basically exceeds the meeting size at which all the humans can have meaningful input.

So far, we have managed to continue making it work. We have switched to bluejeans, although that means we can only see 9 faces at a time, not everyone. We also use an etherpad to allow multiple people to submit ideas in parallel, with a quick read+clarify step for each.

But in the long run, I believe the fundamental structure has to change. Our department will benefit from having small teams that work very closely together, and which have an opportunity to continually improve as a team. Discovery has grown up as a department where everyone knows everyone, and everyone wants to hear what everyone is up to. But we will probably add even more people (eventually). Treating a tribe as if it were a family is not sustainable.


Every team should have its own retrospective, at whatever frequency makes sense. This is a second straw dog proposal.

In the "Optional" sections below, people should only attend if they are needed (for example, if they worked closely with that team during the covered time period). Otherwise declining should be strongly encouraged.



Every 4 weeks, 1 hour

  • Required: Dan, David, Erik, Guillaume, Kevin, Max, Mikhail, Stas, Trey,
  • Optional: Chris, Tomasz,


Every 4 weeks, 1 hour

  • Required: Deb, Jan, Julien, Kevin, Moiz, Oliver, Mikhail
  • Optional: Chris, Max, Tomasz,


Every 4 weeks, half hour

  • Required: Yuri, Max
  • Optional: Chris, Dan, Guillaume, Kevin, Tomasz,

Data Analysis[edit]

Every 4 weeks, half hour

  • Required: Dan, Kevin, Mikhail, Oliver,
  • Optional: Tomasz, Deb, Chris, Tech lead

All of Discovery[edit]

Every 4 weeks, half hour

  • Required: Tomasz, and whoever is relevant for the agenda items
  • Optional: Everyone else
  • Goal: This is strictly to discuss previously identified cross-team relationships and issues that require real-time discussion.
  • Many/most cross-team (or cross-department) issues that got surfaced in team retros would be resolved asynchronously outside this meeting.


Every 4 weeks, 1 hour

  • Requires: Nobody
  • Optional: Everybody
  • Goal: This is a chance to share successes.
  • Agenda:
    • First, generate a list of all the accomplishments and successes since the previous celebration/showcase
    • For each, identify if there is something that could be presented in rough showcase form
    • Dot-vote to decide which items will get presented
    • Presentations
    • Those presentations deemed of wider interest would get promoted to the CREDIT showcase and/or Lightning Talks