Apparently, there are newly-appointed facilitators out there who just use whatever random plan Retromat spits out. Oh, my God, no!
I never, ever meant for anyone to do this. The random plan is a starting point from which everyone should merrily click left and right to create a plan that fits their and their team’s needs.
That’s what I mean with the “tweak it” in “Planning your next retrospective? Get started with a random plan, tweak it, print it and share the URL”. It might have been too subtle. To me it’s obvious that random combinations will not work well together. It’s obvious to me, because I’ve facilitated retros before and I’m experienced. It’s not obvious for someone new to retros.
How could I not realize this for so long? I guess I only get emails from people for whom it works. I don’t hear from those that fail with a random plan or those that “have to pick up the pieces after an inexperienced colleague unleashed a random retro on a team” (actual quote!). I’m so sorry!
If you’re a beginner, try my best shot at an out-of-the-box, beginner-friendly retro plan. It’s practically guaranteed to be better than a random plan.
To reiterate: Retromat is a great source of inspiration for people who know what they’re doing. It’s not a good place to start for people who lack the experience to know whether activities will go together well. In theory Retromat offers millions of plans for retrospectives. In practice only a fraction of these combinations work well. A random plan is unlikely to work out!
When you plan a retrospective with Retromat you have to make sure that you know how the results of one activity will be used in the next activity. That’s what the arrows at the sides are for: To flip through the activities to find one that fits to the activities before and after it, as well as your team’s situation.