The sprint retrospective is a meeting facilitated by the Scrum Master at which the team discusses the just-concluded sprint and determines what could change that might make the next sprint more productive. The sprint review looks at what the team is building, whereas the retrospective looks at how they are building it.
The sprint retrospective is an important mechanism that allows a team to continuously evolve and improve throughout the life of a project. It is important that everyone, including the team, product owner, and Scrum Master, get a chance to air their opinions in an open, honest, yet constructive atmosphere. It often also helps management to get feedback from the team about the work and progress of the project.
Retrospectives aren’t used to record complaints – rather efforts are made by the team to find effective solutions to problems and develop action plans
- 2 hours (2 weeks sprint) / 4 hours (4 weeks sprint)
- Scrum Master
- Product Owner
- Scrum Team
- At the end of the sprint
How is Sprint Retrospective held?
The Sprint Retrospective is held after the sprint review at the end of each sprint. During the retrospective, the team self-identifies elements of the process that did or did not work during the sprint, along with potential solutions. It aims to continuously improve the processes. Sprint Retrospective meetings can be facilitated by asking each person in the team to answer the following questions.
- What went well during the sprint?
- What would we like to change?
- How can we implement that change?
Alternatively, instead of asking what went well and what didn’t go well, the following questions may be asked:
- What should we start doing?
- What should we stop doing?
- What should we continue to do?
Additional topics can also be considered for discussion:
- Results: Compare the amount of work planned with what the development team actually completed. Review the sprint burndown chart and what it tells the development team about how they’re working.
- People: Discuss team composition and alignment.
- Relationships: Talk about communication, collaboration, and working in pairs.
- Processes: Go over getting support, development, and code review processes.
- Tools: How are the different tools working for the scrum team? Think about the artifacts, electronic tools, communication tools, and technical tools.
- Productivity: How can the team improve productivity and get the most work done within the next sprint?
Teams are asked to be specific in their answers so that effective actions can be taken. The retrospective meeting is usually conducted immediately after the Sprint review meeting. It is recommended that the entire team participate in this exercise so that any issues or concerns that the teams face during the previous Sprint are addressed during the teaming and avoided in upcoming Sprints.
Benefits of Retrospective:
Process improvements are made at the end of every sprint. This ensures that the project team is always improving the way it works.
- The retrospective is a collaborative process among all members, including the team, the product owner, and the Scrum Master.
- All team members identify what went well and what could be improved.
- The team members discuss the process that they are following and give any suggestions for improvement.
- The team members discuss any other ideas that could improve their productivity.
- The Scrum Master prioritizes actions and lessons learned based on team direction.
- The retrospective supports team formation and bonding, particularly as any areas of conflict can be identified and dealt with.
- The retrospective helps build the team’s sense of ownership and its self-management.
Tips for effective Retrospective:
- Review notes and actions from the previous retrospective.
- Ask what problems, successes and opportunities you have with the team, the product, and the process.
- Let each team member speak without discussion.
- Vote on the most important items to take action on.
- Use “five whys” to discover the root cause of problems.
- Create an action plan for your top priority items.
- Explicitly allocate time for improvement actions.
- Record your retrospectives & actions.