What is a Thanksgiving retrospective?
In a Thanksgiving retrospective you can consider workplace traditions old and new, think about what should stay in the past, and end by sharing gratitude for your team, your work, and each other.
So why not bring gratitude to work? Work is a huge part of our lives — in-person or virtually, we’re there day in and day out.
All those hours have a tremendous influence on our mental well-being. It’s well worth it to step back, come together, and appreciate what makes your job, team, and workplace special.
In a retrospective meeting, your team members are already looking back, appreciating how you work, and coming up with ways to improve. That’s not so different from how we celebrate Thanksgiving… except you probably won’t be planning your next sprint with friends and family!
Thanksgiving retrospective prompts
Here are the prompts you’ll need for this Thanksgiving retro. If you need an icebreaker, why not ask everyone to draw their own cartoon turkey?
🦃 Old favorites
What tried-and-true habits are serving you well? When you come to work every day, what makes your life easier, happier, and more productive?
These old favorites could be super-specific, like a software tool, or more general, like your team’s communication style.
Did many of your teammates share similar answers? If so, that could reveal all-star techniques that are here to stay!
Example: I can’t imagine starting the day without our check-in meetings. They really help me feel grounded, prepared, and ready to tackle what’s next.
🍟 New Traditions
It’s good to have workflows you rely on. But for continuous improvement, you need to try new things, too.
Were you pleasantly surprised by any techniques lately? What processes or tricks did your team take a chance on – with great results?
Example: After we agreed to do our standups asynchronously it was so much easier for me to manage my time during the day.
🐌 Left on the table
Is there anything you’re ready to leave behind for the new year? What parts of your workday are no longer serving you?
Part of gratitude is knowing when it’s time to leave things in the past. Thank these items for what they’ve brought your team, and consider letting them go.
Example: The manual role-rotation process for bug squasher is really not working. I think we need to find a better alternative.
Finish by sharing what you’re thankful for! As long as you keep it relevant, feel free to have some fun with this prompt!
You probably love things about your job that aren’t strictly related to your duties – like your teammates, your company culture, or even the podcast you listen to.
This is your chance to share those warm Thanksgiving vibes.
Example: I really appreciate our flexible schedule. Having more control over my time has improved my entire life, not just my work experience.
When to do a Thanksgiving retrospective
On Thanksgiving, of course! There’s no better time to get your team into the spirit of gratitude. Whenever this holiday season happens in your region, this is the prompt to choose.
You can also use it any time you want to foster some gratitude, positivity, and thankfulness for your team.
How to run a Thanksgiving retrospective in Parabol
Facilitators can start this meeting in Parabol by selecting their team on the right and then hitting that vibrant Add New Meeting button. First things first, you’ll need a Parabol account. Don’t worry. It’s free. You can sign up below.
Select the Thanksgiving retrospective template
Jump into Parabol and select Retro Meeting with the arrows, then use the dropdown to select the Thanksgving retrospective template. This is where you’ll find Parabol’s library of 40+ pre-made and customizable retrospective formats.
Every Parabol retrospective begins with an optional icebreaker. This box is checked by default. You don’t have to do one, but we recommend it – especially for remote teams.
Start your retrospective with an Icebreaker
If you’re doing an icebreaker, you’ll have a random question to answer. You can refresh it if you want another option, and of course you can create your own if you want.
Perhaps ask team members where they’re drawing inspiration from right now?
Reflect, Group, and Discuss topics based on the retro prompts
Team members can all leave comments together, or do it at a time that works for them. Also, reflections are anonymous, and no one can see them until you’re done working on them.
After the reflect phase, you’ll vote on issues to discuss, talk about the most voted on items, and follow up with action items for each process improvement so you can make it a reality.
Parabol will send a summary of the retro when you’re done so nobody needs to take notes.
Of course, you can do this retrospective in person, with a whiteboard or sticky notes. But it’s even easier in Parabol, especially if you’re an asynchronous or distributed team.
If you like this template, you might also like other holiday retrospective ideas such as the Halloween retrospective, Diwali retrospective, or Christmas retrospective.