30 Retrospective Ideas

A colleague asked me some time ago for retrospective ideas. Life got in the way and I never got back to her. Today, when I was looking for an idea for our team’s next retrospective, I finally got around to share my list of retrospective ideas. I have not tried all of them. Some ideas seem amazing and I would love to try them with the right team and in the right circumstances.  Others seem a bit Pete and repeat. I have added a * to my favorites. Let me know what you like or has worked well for you.

6 Thinking Hats *

The team discusses the previous period since the last retrospective from different specific roles and perspectives. 

Edward de Bono   SolutionsIQ   Retrospective Wiki

Candy Love *

Place a package of M&Ms, or another colorful candy in a jar. Ask a  participant to pick a candy from the jar, and then share something about him/herself according to the candy color.

Paulo Caroli

Comprehensive Team Health Check

Find out what the team thinks of many aspects of the current agile processes in less than 15 minutes.

Jonathan Orgel

DAKI – Drop, Add, Keep, Improve

Drop what bothers the team; Add to improve the process; Keep doing what works; Improve something the team is already doing.

Luis Goncalves   Paulo Caroli   TeamRetro Tool

Do you think what I believe you think of me? *

The team members rate each other’s most important contributions to the team and what behaviors or skills impact the team negatively. This exercise requires a very high level of trust and safety.

Jonathan Orgel

ESVP – Explorer, Shopper, Vacationer, Prisoner *

This is a short activity to measure participants’ engagement for the meeting at hand. 

Corinna Baldauf

Good, Bad, Better, Best

Good: Things that went well; Bad: Things that didn’t work well; Better: Opportunities for improvement; Best: Things that deserve recognition

Brandi Gratis

Happiness Index

Happiness Index is an agile retrospectives tool, which measures the happiness of the agile team.

Oikosofy

How Good are our estimates? Should we care? *

A 20-minute retrospective to get insight into the quality of the team’s estimates.

Jonathan Orgel

Imagine a Failure: a pre-mortem retrospective *

Creativity and openness from all team members to express their concerns when their project is still in the planning phase. Teams can get ideas and actions on areas that if implemented well could increase the chances of success.

Oikosofy

The Good, The Great, and The Amazing

When your retrospectives are only focused on how to improve they may become a drag. This retrospective focussing only on what goes well.

Viktor Cessan

KALM – Keep, Add, Less More

KALM focusses the conversation on the current activities and the perceived value. It helps team members to understand each other’s perceived value on such practices.

Paulo Caroli

Kudo Box

“ in the beginning, or at the end of retrospectives (it’s your choice), you deliver Kudo cards to people that you want to thank for their behavior during the Sprint.”

Viktor Cessan   Scrumdesk tool   Luis Goncalves

Lean Coffee

Using Lean Coffee, participants gather, build an agenda, and begin talking. 

Omar Bermudez

4 Ls – Liked, Learned, Lacked, Longed For

Liked – things you really liked; Learned – things you have learned; Lacked – things you have seen the team doing, but consider what could be done better; Longed for – something you desired or wished for.

Paulo Caroli   Retrium tool   Ben Linders

Mad, Sad, Glad

Issues, changes or observations made during a sprint are listed by all participants and then categorized as either Glad, Sad or Mad.

Mike Pearce   Retrospective Wiki   Miro Board tool

One Word Retrospective *

The One Word is a simple check-in activity that allows the participants to share their feelings before getting into the data and details for the meeting itself. Depending on the mood coming out of the words this may become the retrospective itself.

Ben Linders Alexey Krivitsky Lauren Thomas

Original 4

  • What did we do well, that if we didn’t discuss we might forget?
  • What did we learn?
  • What should we do differently next time?
  • What still puzzles us?

Norman Kerth

PMI *

PMI (plus, minus, interesting) is a retrospective activity that encourages participants to look at an idea from more than one viewpoint.

Naomi Karten 

Repeat Avoid

Simple data gathering activity based on two questions: What to repeat? What to avoid?

Paulo Caroli 

Retrospective By Dice Game

The dice game allows you to engage introverted/quiet people without calling them out and can be easily adjusted to focus on different aspects. 

Jonathan Orgel

Sailboat / Speedboat

This exercise helps teams to define a vision where they want to go; it helps them to identify risks during their path and allows them to identify what slows them down and what helps them to achieve their objectives.

Luis Goncalves  Miro Board tool Ben Clark Marc Loeffler

Speed Car: Parachute, Engine

Speed car is a simplified version of sailboat:
Engine: What has been pushing us forward and making us move faster?
Parachute: What have been slowing us down?

Paulo Caroli

Starfish

Get a good overall picture of what’s going on within a team, what is working and what is not working. Ideas, observations, and issues from the previous period are classified as Keep DoingLess Of, More Of, Stop Doing, and Start Doing.

Paulo Caroli   Luis Goncalves   Teamretro tool

Start – Stop – Continue

The start items are things a team member thinks the team should add to its process. Items on the stop list are things that someone on the team thinks are inefficient or are wasting time. The continue list contains items the team would like to continue to emphasize but that are not yet habits.

Michael Cohn   Brandi Gratis   Miro Board tool

The Twitterspective – agile retrospective

 “If you were to express your opinion on a social media channel about the last Sprint (or any predetermined topic) what would you say”

Oikosofy

The wheel of change

The wheel represents four actions your team will apply to their behavior – for the positive traits create and preserve and for the negative ones – eliminate and accept.

Peter Green   Eylean

Timeline Retrospective

The Timeline Retrospective is a useful way to look back at key events over multiple sprints or months, identify pain points, and develop action plans.

Michael de la Maza

Three Little Pigs

What barely work,  what is OK and what is rock solid?

Michael Bentein

Token of appreciation

Foster and recognize teamwork.

Paulo Caroli