(Scrum is one of the most popular Agile methodologies.) In subsequent editions, the guide has refined the roles and processes of retrospectives. Many retrospective facilitators like to structure the meeting around an activity such as Mad Sad Glad or Start Stop Continue. These exercises ask participants to categorize aspects of their project/sprint experience under one of project retrospective three categories. Check out our rundown on Agile games, ideas, and activities for retrospectives for inspiration. Done correctly, retrospectives are also effective because they occur frequently and allow the team to implement and test potential solutions. With each new retrospective, the group can look back and see how these solutions worked at the last retrospective.
A retrospective is distinct from other meetings such as reviews, release retrospectives, and lessons learned sessions. Those meetings either occur when the team has completed all the work or focus on the product rather than the work methodology. This approach allows teams to become more effective over time by continuously making small improvements to their practices.
How to use these templates in Word?
A good rule of thumb is to keep your retrospectives short, no longer than 30 minutes or so. If a meeting runs longer than an hour, break it into two sessions or divide the plan into multiple meetings. Encourage people to build on each other’s ideas rather than discounting them immediately because they don’t conform to what has been tried before or because they sound silly or impractical. The project retrospective is a vital component of the Agile process. It’s a meeting conducted at the end of each iteration (or sprint), typically one to four weeks long.
- By holding a pre-mortem before your project and imagining it already failed, you increase your chances of predicting possible problems by 30%.
- It would be more effective if everyone who has been involved in the project is invited to attend.
- So there you have it, there are countless reasons why you should run a retrospective and how you can plan a successful one.
- The above information is just one step in a six-step process that makes managing projects from start to finish simpler and easier.
- It allows a team and individuals to highlight both the successes and failures of a project, identify areas that need improvement, and reflect on the project as a whole.
Use a format that makes it easy for everyone to participate (e.g., checklist or index cards). Project retrospectives require team members to be vulnerable about failure. It’s hard to create an environment where people feel safe owning up to things that went wrong. So try an icebreaker or team building activity to start your meeting and bring down barriers. Parabol’s project retrospective tool has built-in icebreakers to help people open up.
Turn insights into actions
You may wonder about the differences between a project retrospective and a lessons learned session. While project retrospectives and lessons learned meetings share similarities, in practice, lessons learned sessions can be vulnerable to the blame game, even though that’s not the intention. Asking open and honest questions during your project retrospective meetings helps to identify key areas that need to be improved and it can also aid in putting any teammates’ concerns at bay. A project retrospective meeting is a scheduled event to review the project, its success and failure factors, lessons learned, and improvements.
Calling out these practices will help you become aware of the success factors. Recounting triumphs and allowing team members to recognize one another with thanks and appreciation can be very motivating. You can download the kudos cards template below to foster that practice, which you can use digitally or print out and share. They provide a space to write details about the reason for the kudos and the name of the person being recognized.
A project retrospective meeting is a short meeting designed to take stock of the project and identify lessons learned and potential improvements. A project retrospective meeting aims to gather feedback from team members so that they can learn from these experiences and apply them to future projects. The key difference between agile retrospectives and lessons learned meetings, is how they are used by teams. A lessons learned meeting is usually held at the end of a project. An agile retrospective is held at the end of a sprint, which lasts between one and four weeks.
Regardless of who facilitates the session, they should have a neutral stance towards all of the information that members of the team present. They should not be someone in a position of power who might intimidate any team members from speaking up. The rewards of running effective retrospectives outweigh the costs. Effective retrospectives require a commitment to maintain an open mind and open communication with your team, as well as a willingness to be vulnerable.
This will help them get into the right mindset for the rest of the meeting. You can go around in a circle or call on specific people as needed. This type of meeting gathers information from all stakeholders to make future projects more effective. The focus is on gathering information about what went well during the project and what did not, as well as any other relevant information that could be useful for future projects. For this reason, grouping reflections into themes can be helpful. Send participants information about the format, topic, and questions they might expect in advance.
Gain consensus and reach alignment quickly, either in real time or asynchronously. Dedicate one side of your Mural to creating clusters of similar items, so you can easily spot trends and repeated themes that emerge during your retrospective. Alex Garcia is a content editor and writer at Writers Per Hour. She enjoys writing (and reading) about small business marketing, entrepreneurship, and design. If you need to find consensus on the ideas that emerge, use dot voting to guide the conversation. If you’ve run a Retrospective previously, quickly revisit the themes and actions from last time to build a sense of continuity.