Retrospective in Agile
Under agile, a retrospective meeting is similar to a post-mortem. After a project has been completed and the end-product has shipped, a meeting can be held to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what can be done better in the future. Retrospective meetings are a key aspect of project lifecycles and project management, with retrospective meeting points shaping projects to come in the future.
Teams using agile or scrum processes are far more likely to need retrospective meetings, as a way to improve processes moving forward. Regardless, a retrospective in agile and a retrospective scrum will be similar in nature, with the same retrospective ideas being discussed. And while some retrospective meetings do happen during completion, others happen week to week. These are used to target and re-target the team toward more successful methods of managing their processes.
A sprint retrospective is particularly important under agile and scrum because the iterative process moves so quickly. Retrospective ideas give organizations methods of changing their processes before they move forward. Sprint retrospective ideas can then be rolled directly into the next product or iteration.
Retrospective Meeting Agenda
How does a regular sprint review meeting go? A typical retrospective meeting (sometimes referred to as an agile ceremony) will include a broad overview of the project retrospective. These sprint retrospective examples would occur week-to-week rather than after the product has shipped. A general retrospective template might go as follows:
- Summary. Begin by describing what occurred before the sprint retrospective meeting. Some sprint retrospective questions would include: What work did we accomplish this week? What work was left incomplete?
- Positives. Describe what went well to get some new and fresh retrospective ideas. Celebrate wins and ensure that the team understands what contributed to those wins. A sprint retrospective template might include the following questions:
- What processes helped the team achieve its goals?
- Did the team try anything different this week that needs to be done again?
- Improvements. Describe what did not go well after what went well. This is where agile retrospective ideas can be used to fix broken processes. Here the sprint retrospective template might include questions like:
- What processes got in the way of work?
- What frustrations did the team have?
- Changes. This is one of the most important parts of the project retrospective template. This is where improvements can be made. Ask questions such as:
- To improve team collaboration, what process changes need to be made?
At every stage, notes should be taken. It’s critical that everyone understand why decisions are being made and with what intent. This is the only way the changes can be tested in the coming weeks and future iterations.
Sprint retrospective sample answers and retrospective points for developers can be used to dig deeper into what a retrospective can mean to a team.
As with any type of meeting, there are different ways to succeed. Taking a look at an example retrospective meeting agenda can help develop your agile retrospective format. There are retrospective ideas for remote teams, general retrospective meeting ideas, and retrospective points examples that can give you a starting point for your meetings. Here are some important concepts and best practices:
- Take detailed notes. The more detailed the notes, the better. These will eventually be used to create a final project retrospective report. Writing an extensive report is critical to the process because this is what documents the decisions that were discussed and made. Without this type of evidence, it becomes difficult to assert changes into living and operating systems; it’s easier for team members to continue operating as they have in the past. Change is difficult and requires both documentation and momentum.
- Share information with the team. The organization should make sure that all team members are on the same page regarding retrospectives. Different team members offer valuable different perspectives. Some may believe that incidents occurred for one reason, while others may know that they happened for another. Team members have to work together to unpack the retrospective, fully realize what changes would mean, and determine the team’s changes best.
- Connect the right people. The right people also need to be involved in the retrospective. Ensure that anyone who had a determining hand within the project or its development is included within the retrospective to share their impressions. Also, ensure that people know when they are accountable or responsible for making changes. It’s difficult for individuals to take ownership of changes unless they see that it is their responsibility.
- Celebrate wins. Take the time to celebrate wins, especially wins that occurred due to previous retrospectives. Look at what has been working for the team and what has been achieved. Celebrating successes reaffirms morale and makes sure the team understands why certain things are doing and why certain things aren’t. Retrospectives aren’t just about identifying what went wrong but also about identifying what goes right.
There are also other types of retrospectives, such as retrospective ideas for Kanban, that can be translated right into agile. You can talk to your team about other cool retrospective ideas, and they can give you their insights into whether the system is working. Developing different sprint retrospective techniques will ultimately help your organization improve upon its project management.
Who is responsible for sprint retrospective meeting improvements? The entire team, ultimately. Team members need to understand why retrospective is important in agile development and articulate their thoughts regarding the project retrospective meeting agenda. They should be able to look at their behaviors and team behaviors to determine what went well in sprint and what went poorly. They should be able to go through a project retrospective survey to identify key areas of improvement.
Project Retrospective Report
Once a meeting has been completed, it’s time to develop the project retrospective report. This report is intended to provide full context for successes, improvements, and observations; a complete summary of the project, meeting notes, and the project lifecycle. This report includes a full breakdown of what the team liked about the process, what they didn’t like, and what improvements can be made.
A retrospective is a truly universal language. The retrospective meeting in Tamil, retrospective meeting in Telugu, retrospective meaning in law, and any other language and culture will be the same: an exploration of what could have been done differently and why things occurred as they did. Likewise, there are sprint retrospective template files — documents that can be used regardless of the platform. This retrospective template confluence can be used to create an extensive inventory of copies to be leveraged.
The retrospective effect meaning doesn’t change, but how organizations tackle their retrospectives may. Best practices for the project retrospective report include:
- Retrospective meeting points. These are the critical points that the organization was meeting regarding and discussing. Retrospective meeting points examples can include: a product just shipping, the final wave of a project being completed, a week of development for a project, or an event that has just occurred.
- Decisions made by team members. These include the decision to change processes or even the decision to leave processes alone. Reporting on decisions made will give a paper trail in the future, regarding why changes have been made or why changes may have been dismissed in the past. When the team considers changing processes later, the team can then reference relevant materials from the past.
- Responsible parties. Team leaders are going to need to follow up on changes that need to be made. Listing the responsible parties for changes gives team leaders the information they need to follow up on issues aggressively, thereby ensuring that processes are changed swiftly and that productivity remains peak. The responsible parties themselves will also be empowered to know that they are responsible and accountable for these changes.
- Wins that have been recorded. It’s a general best practice always to note the things that have worked, as this may give the team more information about strategies and tactics that will use in the future. Recording wins, even if they aren’t directly the result of a retrospective, can make it easier for those looking for ways to improve upon overall processes and increase overall success.
- Any methodology or strategy used. Methodology is essential for business. The more strategic and consistent an organization is with its procedural changes, the more control and precision. Retrospective reports should include what methodology is being used and reflect upon whether that methodology is still relevant to the processes.
Once complete, the project retrospective report includes everything that the organization needs to ensure that the next project operates successfully. It will consist of retrospective points for testing, the project retrospective vs. lessons learned, project retrospective questions, and any physical or virtual retrospective ideas that may be included in future retrospectives.