Asynchronous weekly retrospectives


In 2019, I worked on a team where we had to keep an eye and help 15 projects, carried out by 2 or 3 people each, each one in a different government department, spread out in Paris. We were 3 doing this job, and these projects were part of the same cohort.

It was important for us to know what was going on, at least on a weekly basis, and everyone wanted to know what the others were up to. In corporate land, this need is called reporting, and it’s usually very cumbersome, ineffective and boring. We tried to do it differently and came up with a new process: we imagined and built a specific tool for this.

It’s called Bulletins.

What is it

Bulletins is a weekly retrospective tool for multiple projects or teams. It lets people reflect on their past week with 4 questions which can be answered super quickly:

  • What’s the team mood?
  • What were the main goals this week?
  • What worked great and what was harder?
  • Do we need help?

It’s asynchronous and transparent at its heart. All teams can fill their retrospective when they want through a simple web interface, as long as it’s before Friday 3 PM. On Fridays at 3 PM, everyone gets a weekly recap email with all filled retrospectives. The web interface lets everyone browse through previous retrospectives by week or by team. It comes with email and Slack integrations.

What does it look like

Filling out the weekly form

Browsing through previous bulletins by team

What tool is this

We imagined and built it. It’s a simple Laravel application, available as an open source software, released under the GNU Affero General Public License v3.0 (AGPL v3.0). The interface is translated in English and French.

There is an extensive documentation online, going through the various features, deployment, configuration and more details. It runs on a very light container: 50 Mo of RAM is enough.

For you

I think this tool can be helpful for you. Weekly retrospectives are very common. If you’re interested by asynchronous workflows, owning your data, archiving it, sharing it with others, Bulletins is here for you.

I’d be happy to know if you’re using it. You can also get in touch with me if you’d like to deploy it at work and you’d like some help.

Sounds great? Give me a follow on Twitter or learn more about me.