Even the most successful and seemingly perfect projects always have room for improvement. This is why a team needs to sit down after completing a project and use the sailboat retrospective template to reflect on how it went and figure out what to do better the next time.

What is a sailboat retrospective?

This is one of several techniques teams use to evaluate a completed project, particularly one that has just been finished. Its name was inspired by a sailboat moving toward its destination, much like a team working on a project and moving toward the ultimate goal.

A sailboat retrospective template typically consists of five parts that represent the elements of a project and are interestingly named after sailing components:

  • The sailboat itself represents the team.
  • The lighthouse to which the sailboat was headed represents the team's primary goal.
  • The winds are all the factors propelling the team toward the goal.
  • Conversely, the anchors are the factors that slowed progress or pulled the team back.
  • The rocks are hazards the team might have encountered while working on the project.

Benefits of using a sailboat retrospective template

The sailboat retrospective template takes the usual project retrospective. It makes it a more interesting and, therefore, more effective tool for identifying the weak and strong points of a completed undertaking.

So many benefits can be experienced from a sailboat retrospective, starting with the safe and transparent environment that it provides, allowing team members to share their feedback without inhibitions. It also presents an ideal opportunity for building team camaraderie and spirit. The project might be over, but the same team will be working on many other projects in the future, and it is better if they become a more cohesive unit.

Also, the sailboat retrospective template allows teams to make several improvements for future endeavors, like setting more realistic goals, building better project implementation strategies, eliminating obstacles previously encountered, and building on the strong areas that worked very well.

When to use a sailboat retrospective template?

The sailboat retrospective template is extremely versatile and can be used for just about any kind of project. Not only that, there are also many instances where a team would find it helpful to use the template.

For instance, you can use it within a team meeting. This template is great for sharing information with the team and getting feedback. It is also a good idea to use a sailboat retrospective to get a stalled project going again or to get stakeholders updated on the project's latest progress.

However, the most common use of a sailboat retrospective is immediately after the completion of a project. In contrast, the highlights of the project, the challenges, and the entire process are still fresh in the team members' minds. This is the best time for a reflection that would be most helpful for ensuring the success of future projects.

How to use the sailboat retrospective template in Boardmix?

The easiest way to do a sailboat retrospective with your team is to follow a reliable sailboat retrospective template. This way, you will have a structure to follow instead of groping unthinkingly while trying to focus on the actual evaluation of your project. Boardmix has an excellent template that you can use for a wide range of activities.

To begin, you must open the template, where four of the five components are arranged in columns, starting with the wind or sails, followed by the anchors, the rocks, and the shore. Invite team members, and once they have joined, they will take turns filling out the columns based on their project evaluation.

You can then organize the lists by combining identical answers and grouping similar ones. Then, each member would vote on which items they think deserve further discussion. This would be followed by a discussion and creation of new actions that must be implemented in the future. The entire retrospective can be saved and easily shared.

Extra tips to facilitate a sailboat retrospective

To get everyone in the mood for a sailboat retrospective, the facilitator can begin by asking icebreaker questions about sailing. Ask about favorite island destinations, or have them choose between a sailboat and a speedboat.

The sailboat retrospective is a highly collaborative activity for the entire team. Thus, you must avoid singling out any member and instead focus on general team improvement. While the activity is meant to be fun, you still have a schedule to keep, so using a timer for each sharing would be practical.

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