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New: Share Custom Templates with your Organization or the World!


Parabol comes with over 20 retrospective templates out of the box, but we’ve heard from you that folks want to share Retro templates with other teams in their organization.

Now, you can!

Share your favorite templates with your organization or the public, and help more teams hold meetings that are worth the time invested.

Once a team has dialed in the perfect template to suit their practice and culture, they can share with their organization, or even with the world.To get started, you can clone and edit an existing template, making it your own.

To start, Parabol offers public templates that can be used by any team:

  • Start, Stop, Continue: A popular retrospective format to start with, these simple prompts urge the team to focus on what actions they should keep going with or change.
  • Glad, Sad, Mad: When things seem good on paper, but don’t feel great, this retro format helps teams talk about the feelings underlying their work.
  • Liked, Learned, Lacked, Longed for: This format asks participants to mix up the practical (learned and lacked) with the emotional (liked and longed for) and is a great option for teams that have taken on a new challenge or adjusted their way of working together.
  • Sailboat: For teams looking forward to a clear goal – a particular outcome or a concrete feature to ship – this retro format can focus conversations on the path to get there. Often, this is a great format for pre-mortems.
  • Working & Stuck: The simplest retrospective format of them all, it allows teams to have straightforward conversations about what’s blocking their progress.

If the above don’t suit your needs, create your own retrospective template. Many folks have taken us up on the option and about a third of retro meetings in Parabol use a custom template.

A third of users make use of custom retrospective templates in Parabol

Use customized retrospective templates to meet your team’s unique needs

Teams have many reasons for going their own way and creating a new template:

  • To personalize a template for their team’s lingo
  • To simplify an existing template
  • To add a bit of flair to standard templates, like asking about something specific to the team
  • To localize a template for their language
  • To address different activities, like brainstorming
  • To re-create their offline retro templates, online

Edit an existing template to simplify, add your unique flavor or translate it into your languageClone and edit default retro templates to simplify, add custom prompts or localize

Since they’re popular and battle-tested, our default templates suit a wide variety of use cases. Oftentimes, a standard template may be almost right for your team.

For example, the 4Ls is a powerful format for getting teammates to share concrete stories about their experiences, which are great raw material for a retro.

Unfortunately, there are four Ls, and humans tend to be more satisfied when things come in threes.

To address this, teams have created custom formats by dropping whichever L was the least interesting to them.

On the flip side, sometimes a template is missing something valuable.

One instance might be recognizing good work – an important part of moving a team forward. We’ve seen teams address this by adding a specific prompt for this into one of our default templates. You can adjust templates to include something like ‘wins’, ‘kudos’, or ‘thanks’.

Besides a specific new prompt, sometimes teams want to just phrase things differently, even with emoji.

The following are real templates in Parabol:

  • Glad, Sad, Mad,
  • The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Here, teams are customizing existing templates to create their own flavor.

Last, we recognize that Parabol (the tool) is currently entirely in English, but our users are actually all over the world and often English is not their preferred language.

We see this play out in custom templates, where 14% of templates are in a different language.

More than 14% of custom templates are in languages other than Englihs

Create an entirely new retro template for entirely new purposesCreate entirely custom retrospective templates

Sometimes, you need something completely different.

We ran into this issue when we wanted to use Parabol to synthesize our findings from a UX research study – we needed a totally different template.

And we’re not the only ones that got this idea – teams have built entirely unique formats to:

Parabol wasn’t explicitly built for these purposes, but we love seeing teams using our tool to structure the conversations they really need to be having.

When you create a new retro format, we’ll suggest some color-coding options, just like our default formats.

Now, teams can also choose to share those unique formats with their organization or even the world.

Share and get inspired with new retrospective ideas from your organization or the broader Parabol universe

Share retro format ideas across your organization or with the world

Whether you’re looking for fresh ideas or you need to run a retro in a different context, like for a bigger project, new shareable templates are here for you.

You can chose to share a template with:

  • Your Organization: Help other teams in your org address unique organizational issues, address processes you’ve implemented (like feedback on OKRs) or speak the unique internal language of your company
  • The Public: Share localized templates in your language or formats you love to help others struggling with similar challenges
Share retrospective templates across your organization or with the world

Popular and frequently used templates will be promoted in the list of public templates.

So it’s your chance to be in the retrospectives hall of fame!

Got a custom template you think we need to hear about? Let us know

Aviva Pinchas

Aviva Pinchas

Aviva is a product and marketing leader with a passion for remote work and organizational design. She previously worked on WooCommerce at Automattic, one of the world’s largest fully distributed companies. Aviva lives and works in Austin, TX. 

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