A team safety check is a way of understanding the team’s readiness to be open and honest. It starts with a question like “Are you able to be open and honest and say everything that needs to be said in this retrospective?”
Display the scale:
- 5 – Happy to talk about anything
- 3 – Some things can be discussed, others are hard to say
- 2 – I will be quiet and let others do the talking
- 1 – I don’t have safety and won’t talk
Get people to put a number on a note and collect them anonymously. Share the summary with the team, for example, “We had three people at 5, one at 4 and two at 3”. Don’t show the individual cards to avoid the chance of anyone’s handwriting being recognized. With distributed teams, make sure your whiteboarding tool preserves anonymity.
If the results are high 4s and 5s, acknowledge that and move on with your plan. If the results are medium 3s and 4s – perhaps one 2 – comment on the safety level and point out that silence in any activity is okay. If the results are low with any 1 or multiple 2s, then we would want to turn the retrospective toward nourishing Psychological Safety since it is clearly low in the group.
- Retrospectives don’t need a Safety Check
- Safety Check
- Safety Check Team Radar
- Team Safety Check Retrospective – Building Psychological Safety
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