An online retrospective tool gives each person the chance to have the opportunity to contribute, rather than just about being the most dominant person in the room.
Simply put this means that each person can share their own ideas, comment on others, have an equal number of votes for discussion, and to support specific proposed actions. All voices are heard at the same volume and are of equal importance.
Anonymous input helps with this. Submitting ideas anonymously means team members aren’t influenced by the person who suggested it. Instead, the idea is viewed on its own merits.
Using independent voting to decide on what is discussed and which actions are taken forward is an effective way of supporting psychological safety. Each person has a fixed number of votes with equal weight as part of a “dot-mocracy”
The way in which an online retrospective tool allows for input to be captured also helps maintain a level playing field. All participants have the same opportunity to submit the same type of input at the same time. It’s not dependent on having room to stick ideas on a physical board, nor for people to wait their turn. People can record their questions, comments and feedback simultaneously while discussion is taking place. Again, this means that all ideas can be captured and the whole team can see all comments that have been offered. See an example here.