Inclusive Team Growth: Crafting Accessible Retrospectives for All Abilities

Inclusive Team Growth: Crafting Accessible Retrospectives for All Abilities

Inclusive Team Growth: Crafting Accessible Retrospectives for All Abilities

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Inclusive Team Growth: Crafting Accessible Retrospectives for All Abilities


The value of accessible retrospectives within a team cannot be underestimated, as they ensure inclusivity for team members with disabilities. By creating an environment where every member can contribute and be involved, we foster empowerment and collaboration, ultimately leading to effective team growth.


GitHub’s Accessibility leadership team serves as an excellent example of an organization that champions inclusivity by accommodating its diverse group of members, including those with blindness and hearing impairments. Being a remote-first organization enables GitHub to prioritize accessibility in its daily operations, allowing team members to actively engage in various team activities effectively.

Collaboration Tools

The Accessibility leadership team at GitHub uses a combination of tools to ensure smooth collaboration, including GitHub Issues, GitHub Discussions, Zoom, and Slack. Interestingly, GitHub Discussions has become a preferred choice by team members who use screen readers, indicating its effectiveness in making team communication more accessible.

Setting up the Retrospective

  1. Create a GitHub issue
    To begin the process, create a GitHub issue with a comprehensive description of the retrospective, format, tasklist of discussions, and any shared agreements. It is crucial to utilize appropriate Markdown formatting to ensure readability and accessibility.

  2. Create discussion posts for each category of feedback
    For instance, in a Starfish retrospective, create separate discussion posts for Keep Doing, Less Of, More Of, Stop Doing, and Start Doing categories.

  3. Link the discussions from the tasklist in the original retrospective issue
    Additionally, create a “Retro” discussion category for easy access to all relevant items.

  4. Invite participants to contribute to the discussions ahead of time
    This proactive approach provides significant benefits, especially for neurodivergent teammates, as it allows them to prepare and participate effectively in the retrospective.

Running the Retrospective

To ensure a smooth and accessible retrospective, observe the following tips and practices:

  1. Make sure all resources are accessible, including screen reader-compatible formats and closed captions for videos.

  2. Allow time for silent reading, thinking, and voting, providing a comfortable space for everyone to contribute.

  3. Set clear expectations about the agenda to ensure that all participants are aware of and prepared for what will be discussed.

  4. Facilitate the discussion in a structured and inclusive manner, giving everyone equal opportunities to express their opinions and perspectives.

  5. Provide raised and prioritized topics in order for the discussion to remain focused and organized.

  6. Be mindful of time constraints and promote asynchronous follow-ups to the discussion if necessary.

Crafting accessible retrospectives is a vital component of ensuring that all team members can engage and contribute to the team’s growth. By implementing these practices for other team activities, organizations can continue fostering an inclusive environment that embraces diversity, leading to more successful and empowered teams. With attention and effort, it is possible to create a truly inclusive workplace that recognizes the value of every individual’s unique abilities.

Casey Jones Avatar
Casey Jones
1 year ago

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