9 Tips for a Better Retrospective

Get the most out of your Sprint Retrospective with these 9 Tips

A productive retrospective is highly valuable to a team. Make the most of your team’s time with these tips to get the most out of your retrospectives. As the team continues their Agile journey, remember to keep it fresh by trying some of the alternative techniques described in our previous post.

1) Be fully present

Show respect for the team and the process. No laptops. Phones on silent.

2) Keep it brief

Make the retrospective meaningful without making it burdensome. The rule of thumb is 45 minutes for each week of the Sprint. A 2-week Sprint should have a 1.5-hour retrospective.

3) Start and end on a positive note

Begin with what worked, and end with appreciations or action items. This practice avoids becoming mired in negativity, and the team leaves feeling energized to take on what’s next.

4) Focus on the process, not the people

Even if the issues seem to stem from one person’s actions, focus on non-compliance with process or process that should be improved. No one wants to feel like everyone is against them.

5) Commit to change and take action to achieve it

The retro is time wasted unless the team identifies concrete actions to take towards improvement. Next retro, check on the team’s progress to see how work towards these goals is progressing.

6) Acknowledge immovable objects

Sometimes, there are things no one can change: the difficult client, the choice of technology, or the speed of the servers. If the team is feeling held back or frustrated by an immovable object, acknowledge the issue, allow some healthy venting, and move on. Focus on what can be changed.

7) Tackle immovable objects quietly

As Scrum Master, you may be in the position to influence immovable objects behind the scenes. Can you get more server RAM or better development environments? Is there a process to ease interactions with that difficult client? Keep at it and you might surprise yourself–and the team.

8) Make it fun

Repeating the same formula every Sprint is dull. Mix it up to keep everyone engaged and energized.

9) Adapt to less than ideal circumstances

Retrospectives with distributed teams are challenging. Consider using a tool like Trello. Invite team members to a Retro board. Create a List for “what works,” “what doesn’t work,” and “how to fix it.” Enable the “Voting” power-up. Use cards instead of sticky notes. Team members can “like” a card to show they agree and raise it in priority. Combine the board with a conference call or video conference to best simulate in-person meetings.

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  • Retrospectives Basics And Techniques

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