How To: Sprint Retrospectives

Sprint Retrospectives are an important part of our inspect and adapt process. It helps our teams to continually improve by looking back at the last Sprint, identifying areas of improvement and creating an action plan to to implement improvements for the next Sprint.

The Format

The format of a retrospective can be as simple as “What went well?, What didn’t go well?, what could we improve next Sprint?. Personally I find that the simpler the format, the better as there can be less overhead for the team in terms of thinking time when formats change constantly.

Facilitators can also adapt the retrospective to incorporate Retrospective Games to try and make teams feel more at ease and build better team spirit if teams are working well. I have included links to give some ideas in this article.


* If the team have had a good Sprint with no major worries, don’t spend a lot of time over analyzing these points. It can have a detrimental impact on what could have been a great Sprint. Focus on the positives.

* If you, as a facilitator know that the Sprint has had a lot of ups and downs and has items that may need to be addressed, use a focused retrospective to address these points and air them with the team.

* Always spend a little time reviewing the action points from the last retrospective and update on progress. Being in a team that raises issues, plans to fix them and does not follow through can lead to a dip in motivation and cause retrospectives to stagnate. Follow up and celebrate successes as a team.

* Learn to read the team. Raising blockers or negatives within the team environment can lead to conflict or heated discussions. As facilitator, always be prepared for this and be quick to address and pick these points up with individuals outside of the retrospective.

* Create a continuous improvement board. Keep track of all of the changes that you have made as a team and review them to see how far you have come as a team.

Retrospective Material

Here are some websites with good Retrospective Games and formats to try with your teams.

Tasty Cupcakes:

Fun Retrospectives:

Fun Retro

What formats do you like to use with your teams?

Published by The Daily Scrum

A CSP, CSM, CSPO who lives and works in Glasgow, UK.

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