What is Sprint Retrospective & How to Run it? ( + Engaging Ideas)

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Sprint Retrospective

What is Sprint Retrospective?

Sprint Retrospective Definition

A sprint retrospective meeting determines which tasks and “activities” the team is doing well. And which should retain, and what “extra” can you do to make the next sprint more exciting and compelling.

The sprint retrospective is a periodic meeting held at the end of a sprint cycle. It aims to assess what went well and what needs modification for the upcoming sprint cycle.

The scrum paradigm for designing, delivering, and managing complex projects includes an Agile sprint retrospective.

After the sprint review and before the following Sprint Planning, there is a Sprint Retrospective. 

For one-month sprints, this is a maximum of a three-hour meeting. The retrospective session is essentially an “innovation” meeting. It intends to discover possible dangers, past mistakes, and new approaches to avoid those problems. 

Everyone attends it – the product owner, scrum master, development team members, and possibly stakeholders.

To make the following sprint more fun or productive, the principles of “inspect” and “adapt” play a critical part in retrospective sessions.

What is the purpose of the sprint retrospective?

Following the sprint review and before sprint planning, the scrum sprint retrospective is a timed meeting. Its goal is to do the following things:

Consider how the recently concluded sprint went regarding people, relationships, procedures, and technologies.

  • Please list what went well and put it in the correct order.
  • Repeat the process for anything that didn’t go as planned.
  • Recognize areas where you could improve.
  • Make a strategy for improving the Scrum team’s workflow.

All that impacts how the scrum team creates the product, including procedures, tools, artifacts, and the environment, is up for debate and change. 

It enables development teams to customize scrum according to their specific needs using product management and roadmap tools.

A scrum retrospective is after each sprint. It guarantees that essential changes get formulated and accepted before they become lost in the shuffle of new work. 

It asks: How can I enhance the specific items I contributed to the sprint? It assists each scrum team member in identifying ways to improve the particular things they contributed to the sprint.

  • What aspects of this sprint’s work have been particularly successful?
  • What tasks haven’t got completed to your satisfaction?
  • What should we do first to better our situation?

The development team focuses on improving product quality by refining work methods or adjusting the definition of “done” throughout each agile sprint retrospective. 

From scrum team to scrum team, this concept may change. To judge when work has reached the standard criteria, the team must have the same sense of “done.”

Scrum teams’ definitions of “done” will grow as they acquire experience. Thereby incorporating increasingly stringent requirements for improved scores.

How to set the sprint retrospective agenda?

To begin, set the scene.

5 minutes in length.

It’s seldom a good idea to get into the nitty-gritty details of your last sprint during the first few minutes of a retrospective. And there are many reasons setting the tone is crucial to any practical retrospective agenda.


10 minutes in length

Retrospectives can be challenging since people are hesitant to speak up. Alternatively, certain people speak up more frequently, resulting in imbalanced feedback. 

Finally, the issue stems from a lack of trust. Real problems rarely get explored without trust, transparency, and safety.

Warm-up retrospective techniques, sometimes known as energizers, can be highly beneficial in this situation. You put people into an “exploration” mode. 

The best aspect is switching up the warm-ups at each meeting to keep your retrospectives interesting.

Obtain Insights:

15-minute duration.

This agenda chapter intends to provide a more in-depth look at at least one of the topics covered in the previous phase.

We need to find out how to get to the bottom of why certain things happened. We must first compile previously gathered comments before delving into each issue with a laser-like concentration.

Make a list of actionable items:

15-minute duration.

This phase aims to generate action items for the following sprint iteration. Now that you’ve discovered the problem’s likely fundamental causes. And potential solutions consider what you’d like to accomplish differently in the next sprint.

This stage is critical, and it’s where most teams fall short. A retrospective that produces no actionable items is nearly meaningless.

Encourage people to take action. Don’t allow the conversation to devolve into many viewpoints and hazy proposals. This phase is all about facilitating particular activity, so ask all of your team members the right questions.

Ask, “name at least two actions you will do during the next sprint to overcome this matter” rather than “What could we do to support us.”

Keep track of how effective your previous retrospectives were. Remind your team members of the actionable items added before the last sprint also how they impacted team performance.

After seeing progress, your team will be more willing to discuss actionable actions to enhance during the next sprint.

How to run a sprint retrospective meeting?

Make a sprint schedule:

You’ll need to know when your sprints are taking place to determine when you’ll be having your sprint retrospective meeting.

Put those on the calendar for your group. Two weeks per sprint is a good starting point if you’re unsure how long you’ll need. Sprints should be no more than a month lasting in most cases.

Invite your workmates:

At the end of each sprint, a retrospective should occur. Put your team on your schedule immediately, and invite your team members to that meeting. Every team member should take part.

Raise the appropriate questions:

Start with those to get the conversation started, but be prepared for other topics.

If the team goes off on a tangent, redirect them back to assessing your previous sprint and optimizing your next one.

Enhance your procedures by:

Your agile team will begin their next sprint after your retrospective. This isn’t just a time for them to get more work done. 

Depending on what you spoke about in your retrospective, it’s also a chance to improve their processes. Make sure you’re putting your ideas into action.

Discuss how it went:

After your next sprint, you’ll have another retrospective to discuss how any modifications you made worked out. Your cooperation will continue to improve, like a snowball sliding downhill.

What should you do if your team mentions the same issues in this retrospective? That’s a hint that either you didn’t follow through on resolving the problem or that whatever solution you tried didn’t work.

What are the questions to be discussed in the sprint retrospective?

Question 1: What did well?

It’s easy to focus on problem areas while trying to make advancements: things that didn’t go as planned.

However, questioning what transpired well kicks off the retrospective positively. It enables us to identify all of the nice things that have occurred.

Question 2: What Went Wrong?

This question elicits issues, concerns, and dissatisfactions that the team is currently dealing with. It’s the most frequently asked question, which is unsurprising given the exercise’s progress goal. 

Where better to seek opportunities to improve than where things aren’t going so well?

This question aims to identify events that were less than optimal in the opinion of someone on the team.

We must focus on what happened while answering this question – reflecting on the past and what did happen.

Question 3: What Have I Discovered?

This is a significant question, and contemplating it tends to open our eyes to things we might otherwise overlook. 

It motivates us to reflect on what we’ve learned about how we work. Here are a few examples:

“I’ve discovered it’s best to move away from the keyboard when I’m thinking through a difficult problem.”

“I’ve discovered that I’m less likely to get distracted if I’m clear about what I want to do before starting.”

Question 4: What Is It That Still Confuses Me?

Open questions and dilemmas are practically the polar opposite of the previous question. 

This question allows us to articulate things for which we wish we had answers but do not. Here are a few examples:

“Why are our product presentations attracting fewer and fewer people?”

“Why is it taking me significantly longer than last week to finish my task?”

“How does our product fit into the portfolio strategy?”

These issues represent a concern we have – a knowledge gap. Since you can bring awareness to your problem without making a statement, this is also an excellent opportunity. That expresses concerns, misgivings, doubts, or other delicate themes.

What are the sprint retrospective ideas to keep the team engaged?

Push your employees to give their fullest:

It’s simple to point to minor improvements that can help you win your next sprint. However, the purpose of your retrospective is to improve continuously. Your team will have to dig deep and concentrate on structural changes.

Check in with your team to see how they’re feeling:

You tried out one of these fresh retrospective concepts and aren’t sure how your team reacts. Fortunately, there is a simple solution: ask them.

When your retrospective completes, ask your team if they believed the format helped them analyze the sprint, share their opinions, and achieve the goal.

Make sure you incorporate icebreakers:

A classic retro party would begin with an activity to break the ice. If you were at work, you could easily have a little discussion with everyone, which would suffice.

Icebreaker exercises become even more crucial when we’re all working remotely. There’s a lack of personal communication and team spirit.

Finish with closing tactics for the sprint retrospective:

Please take a moment to practice closing techniques with your team to make them grin, feel the team’s sprint, and get them excited for the next sprint.

The most successful method is to give each other a round of “appreciation simply.” 

Appreciate each other for the previous sprint, for minor acts of assistance or support, or simply for being in the same room.

This is also the right time to check the team’s progress and well-being.


When is a sprint retrospective meeting held?

The end of an iteration gets marked with a sprint retrospective meeting. After a sprint review and the planning meeting for the following sprint, teams should do a sprint retrospective.

How long should a sprint retrospective take?

Sprint retrospectives have a three-hour time limit. Allow 45 minutes per week of sprint length as a basic rule of thumb.

Who attends the sprint retrospective meetings?

The scrum master, who organizes the meeting, as well as the entire scrum team and the product manager, should all be present. Everyone involved in the product’s design, development, and testing is part of the scrum team.

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