Simple steps to make Agile Retrospective fun and effective

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Before explaining sprint retrospective, I am assuming that you have a fairly good knowledge of Agile practice management. This blog doesn’t cover Agile basics. This blog is for anyone who wants to be successful in running an Agile Retrospective

The sprint retrospective is just for scrum team and gives the team an opportunity at the end of the sprint to take a look back at the sprint that just ended, which may be one or two weeks depending on your sprint length and determine, what went well, what problem areas that may have had and how they can improve upon those areas as they move forward to the next sprint.

A agile retrospective template provide by JIRA

A retrospective is a forum where team members can praise success, discuss issues and agree to resolve those issues and as a result, it will dramatically increase team productivity and morale. It involves discussion on the ongoing progress of the team and what could be done to make the next sprint better and more effective. It is certainly not a sprint review or a status update even it is more than that. The main issues addressed in a sprint retrospective are:-

  • What went well?
  • What went wrong?
  • What could be done for improvement?

There can be more than above perspectives like discussing new challenges and proposing new ideas.

A retrospective is not a responsibility of a single person. It is a collaborative effort that includes the whole team, product owner, and the scrum master. In this blog, you will learn how to run retrospective effectively that gives result without wasting people’s time and energy. Because if your retrospectives are just going to be a formal meeting held for namesake, it is not going to be useful. Hence only meaningful retrospectives are worth your time.

Since we do the retrospective at the end of every sprint, so sometimes it can become monotonous, ineffective and boring over time. In this blog, I have explained some strategies, which you could use to make your retrospective more effective.

  • Change the Style and choose a different location:- 
    If you stick to one particular style of retrospective, it could lead to sluggishness among people. Choosing a different location for the Retrospective might do wonders. As we know, Variety is the spice of life. New and exciting practices make life more attractive and it also applies to professional life. You can go for an outing with your team. You can choose the coffee bar or public park as a different location. You can also do retrospective over the lunch.
    1529799373897599806The idea is not about changing location, but about different atmosphere and different approaches.
  • Give opportunity to someone else to facilitate the Retrospective:-
    According to the general approach, Scrum master should be the facilitator. But nothing is official, we can change the way we want.  You can change the Retrospective facilitator.  Every member of the team should get the opportunity to facilitate the retrospective and this will allow everyone to think about their own methods, which streamlines and enriches every meeting.
  • Appreciation culture in the Retrospective:-
    Appreciation is a fundamental human need. People want to be respected and valued by others for their contribution. Every team members put their best efforts into improving the project. We must not forget appreciating them and let them know how thankful we are for their services. You can give them chocolates or any other token of appreciation. A retrospective is a great place to do this.
  • Show metrics during Retrospective:-
    A retrospective meeting is the best place to show the metrics. If we show metrics during the meeting, that can be the valuable point for improvement. We can show how things have gone in the past to predict the future. It will help to keep sprint on track. Some metrics for ex: Actual Stories Completed vs. Committed Stories, Team Velocity
  • Looking at previous Retrospective and review action items:-
    If we don’t look at previous retrospective and review action items, the team will start losing its motivation to discuss and work on action items. Taking reviews as well as the actions of the oast sessions is one of the best things you could do for the betterment of your retrospective.I hope this blog helps you to improve and master agile scrum retrospective!


Written by 

Ayush is the Sr. Lead Consultant @ Knoldus Software LLP. In his 10 years of experience he has become a developer with proven experience in architecting and developing web applications. Ayush has a Masters in Computer Application from U.P. Technical University, Ayush is a strong-willed and self-motivated professional who takes deep care in adhering to quality norms within projects. He is capable of managing challenging projects with remarkable deadline sensitivity without compromising code quality.

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