This is a guest post by RealtimeBoard.
A sprint retrospective is a great way for your team to reflect on the previous sprint, the work that was done, the goals achieved, and generate ideas for improvement. The trick is to change up the format every once in a while – retros quickly become stale if you sleepwalk your way through the same agenda every time.
In this post, you’ll get five simple sprint retrospective ideas, along with templates for each.
Although the majority tools traditionally used for sprint retrospectives (whiteboards, sticky notes) lend themselves to co-located teams, the rise of the remote worker means that more retrospectives are happening in the digital realm as well. The screenshots you’ll see use Realtimeboard, but you can easily replicate these templates on a wiki page or whiteboard.
Template 1: Start, Stop, Continue
Focus the team on processes and form new team habits by defining what to start, stop and continue doing.
The “Start, Stop, Continue” method is about quick idea generation. Instead of listing all topics, grouping them, and then trying to take action on specific groups, this technique tries to identify actions straight away.
How to use it:
- Show the team the template separated into three areas, labeled: Start, Stop and Continue.
- Reflect as a team on three things:
- What should the team start doing?
- What should the team stop doing?
- What should the team continue doing?
- Add your answers as digital sticky notes in the corresponding columns.
The actions don’t have to be measurable, but the previous iteration can be used to generate benchmark values to help define the actions for the next sprint.
Template 2: Glad, Sad, Mad
Understand your team’s emotional health and bring about any necessary change.
How to use it:
- Show the team the template divided into three areas, labeled Mad, Sad, and Glad.
- Give everyone 15 minutes to come up with a list of observations they’ve made from the previous sprint.
- The team members should record each observation on a sticky note.
- Ask each participant to describe their observations and place the sticky note on a whiteboard – it should be the area that best matches the participant’s feeling, making them glad, sad or mad.
- Observations should be grouped by similarity. Voting takes place to determine which ones have the most impact.
- Discuss the highest voted topics with the team: the conversation should generate ideas and improvements for the next sprint.
- The exercise can continue until the time is up, or all the important topics are highlighted.
Template 3: Sailboat
Define the vision for the team and identify any problems along the way.
How to use it:
- Show the team a picture of the sailboat in the ocean, propelled forward by the wind, held underwater by anchors, heading towards the island, and facing rocks.
- Explain that, similarly, a sprint has factors that slow it down and speed it up. The islands in the picture are the goals the team is heading to, the rocks are the risks they might face towards their vision.
- Write down what the team’s vision and goals are.
- Ask the team to record on sticky notes things that they felt helped the sprint move forward or slowed it down. Place the sticky notes either on the sail or below the boat, indicating that they are anchors or wind.
- Write down the ideas within the area of risks as well.
- Select a team member to group all the sticky notes on the board into similar categories.
- Get feedback from the rest of the team as to whether the grouping is fair, or if changes should be made.
- Have the team vote on what the team feels are the critical groups to focus on.
- Start root cause analysis and develop some outcomes.
Template 4: The 4 L’s
Look at the current situation from a factual perspective.
How to use it:
- Show the team the whiteboard divided into 4 areas labeled Liked, Learned, Lacked, and Longed for.
- Ask the team to write down on sticky notes everything that they liked, learned, lacked, and longed for during the sprint.
- Give the participants some initial thinking time and ask them to place the sticky notes on the respective areas.
- Split up the group into four sub-teams, one for each L. Give the sub-teams time to analyze the sticky notes on their board and to group them according to similar themes.
- Each group reports on their findings, and then all participants discuss together what they can do to address the individual themes.
Optional variation: Since “lacked” and “longed for” are closely related, some teams replaced “lacked” with “loathed”.
Template 5: Quick Retrospective
Define the team’s key focuses of attention
The Quick Retrospective dives straight in, asking the team direct questions about the sprint: what was good and what was bad, then capturing ideas and actions from the team. It’s a good starting point for new teams who are not experienced with retrospectives because it’s easy to understand and use.
How to use it:
- Show the team a whiteboard divided into four boxes: What was good?, What was bad?, Ideas, and Actions.
- Ask the participants to list their thoughts on sticky notes and place them in the appropriate box.
- Discuss with the team what they want to try in the following sprint, even if it’s unclear how effective it is going to be.
- Get everything recorded on the board where it’s up for everyone to see.
- Look at all the thoughts on the board, discuss them with the team and come up with actions that they are going to take.
We hope these templates have inspired you to mix it up and have a little fun at your next sprint retrospective. Now that’s a great idea.
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At RealtimeBoard, we’ve created a whiteboard app you can use in Jira Cloud and Confluence Server that helps keep everyone in your team on the same page. Check out RealtimeBoard in the Atlassian Marketplace!