At the start of an agile retrospective you can do a safety check by asking people to write down how safe they feel in the retrospective.
The Retrium tool for on-line retrospectives makes retrospectives for distributed teams easy and effective.
Teams can improve their way of working by exploring their strengths using a core qualities exercise.
Here are some suggestions on what you can do to assure that you will have actions from agile retrospectives that are doable and that those actions get done.
Getting actions out of a retrospective that are doable, and getting them done helps teams to learn and improve. An overview of things that you can use to get value out of your retrospectives.
Asking questions is a technique that is easy to learn, but the effectiveness depends on the questions that you ask to the team. Here are some suggestions.
The 5 times why retrospective uses root cause analysis to identify the deeper causes of problems, and define actions to stop them.
Asking why gives insight in peoples behavior and their feelings and motives that drive them, helps to find root causes of problems, and reveal the strengths that people have.
Having some sort of visual indicator of the action items, along with the people responsible for them, always helps the team stay focused.
The most important thing is never to forget to appreciate and thank your team members for the ways they have helped each other.
Explicitly whether they would like to have a discussion about specific topics, and facilitating the discussion around those topics, can really help.
With a secret box, team members can drop in their views and submit things they would want to discuss in the retrospective.