Tomorrow is Friday, which means your weekly retrospective meeting, AKA, Retro is right around the corner.

Every team does Retro differently and opinions about its usefulness vary. But the goal is universal: by reflecting on what you did this week, you can do even better next week.

At Devpost, we've experimented with a few different ways to do Retro. One way that worked well for us in the past was a 5 step, all hands Retro. Since our whole team was moving towards a common goal, we involved everyone, not just the devs. Additionally, we asked that everyone arrived prepared. Here's how we did it:

0. First, we appoint a leader to run Retro. It's a rotating role and it's that person's job to keep us on track.

1. We go around the room and discuss what each of us did this week. This isn't a deep dive, it's a quick 1–2 minute summary of what our goals were and the progress we made.

We don't point fingers or shame people for a lack of progress. We're just stating the facts and identifying where we need help.

2. Each of us highlights 3 positives and a negative. The positives can be things we're proud of. Problems we solved. Teammates who helped us out. Team acheivements. Anything really.

Our negative, or delta, is an area where we fell short as a team and an opportunity for improvement. Deltas are not people. We like to write down our deltas on sticky notes and put them on a whiteboard to make them visual.

3. The Retro leader reviews the list of deltas, tabling anything that isn't actionable. Next, we have a brief discussion about how we could address each issue and then we vote on them. Everyone gets 3 votes, which we can use as we see fit.

4. After the vote, we define an action item and a lead for each of the top 3 deltas. Leads will work toward and present their progress at the next retro.

Note: This process works well if you can hold leads accountable, take meeting minutes, and give them enough time to work on their action items. If you're running at 120% every day, every week, then this process might not work for you.

These 5 steps helped us make changes in our business, culture, product, and mood. Whether you adapt it for your team's needs or follow another process, I hope you'll push yourself to be better every week.

Online hackathons

 

AWS Serverless Apps for Social Good Hackathon

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO OCTOBER 9! Win $22,000 in prizes by creating new serverless applications that support nonprofits working to end human trafficking.

Your app can be a stand-alone asset or an input to other applications. All apps will be published to the AWS Serverless Application Repository.

 

Amazon Aurora Database Challenge

In the first ever Aurora challenge, Amazon is challenging developers around the world to build an application that can reach internet scale using Amazon Aurora, a MySQL and PostgreSQL compatible relational database. Prizes include $24,000 in cash and AWS credits!

Judges will be looking for scalability, performance, security, and resilience while making use of the AWS ecosystem. They'll reward good development practices, including continuous integration & continuous delivery, microservices, serverless computing, and other modern design ideas.

 

PropTech Challenge—presented by REBNY

During the PropTech Challenge, you'll develop cutting edge solutions to solve real world challenges for NYC’s real estate market. There is a grand total of $50,000 in cash prizes, which will be awarded to twelve finalists at Demo Day on November 8th in New York City.

Bonus: Thanks to REBNY, you will have ongoing access to representatives from many of the largest real estate firms who can provide mentoring, insight, and guidance about the industry & major pain points.

 

The AWS AI Hackathon

Put your skills to the test by applying language and vision intelligence to a new or existing application and win $10,000 in prizes!

Use language and vision APIs including Amazon Comprehend, Amazon Transcribe, Amazon Polly, Amazon LexAmazon Translate, and Amazon Rekognition to gain customer insights, personalize content recommendations, identify celebrities, objects and scenes, and much more!

 

Local hackathons in September–November