Table of contents
An Agile retrospective is an excellent tool for helping to ensure your teams get the most out of Agile software development. Because Agile stresses the importance of continuous improvement, having a regular Agile retrospective is one of the most important Agile development practices.
This article sets out to offer a quick definition of what an Agile retrospective is. It includes practical examples of how to do them using Teamhood, along with some graphics of the Teamhood templates you can use as part of the process. That way, you’ll hopefully get a good idea of how Agile retrospectives work and you’ll be able to better imagine how you can make use of them in your organization.
An Agile retrospective is a meeting held at the end of a sprint in Agile software development. During this meeting, the team reflects on what happened during the sprint and identifies actions for improvement by asking the following specific questions:
The retrospective is team driven. Team members should decide how to run the meetings and how to make decisions about the improvements they need to make. The team reflects on how everything went and then decides what changes to make in the next iteration.
Based on the experiences of our most successful clients who use the Agile methodology, here are our six steps to running an Agile retrospective using Teamhood.
Start by creating a new workspace or board in Teamhood dedicated to retrospectives. If you are creating a new workspace, you can find a template under Workshops -> Agile retrospective.
Here you will find a Kanban board with 3 statuses:
For remote teams, you can work straight into this digital template. If you’re able to do the retrospective with the team gathered together in a room, use a whiteboard with sticky notes and then transfer the information captured into the template.
This is how the retrospective board will look in Teamhood:
For remote or hybrid teams, you should be able to invite your team members to attend your remote call with a couple of clicks. Otherwise, you make sure to gather your team in a room where they can focus for between 30 minutes to an hour without any distractions.
If your team uses Teamhood, add them to the new workspace so that they can think about the past Sprint and add in items ahead of the meeting.
For an Agile retrospective to be effective, your team members must feel like they can speak freely. This is both one of the guiding principles of Agile in general, and of retrospectives more specifically.
Retrospectives should be regular and short, so set a clear time limit for the meeting. It’s also useful to ensure that any views are captured anonymously, in case the meeting results need to be shared with senior management at any point. This creates a safe space in which every participant can feel free to speak their mind.
Some more ground rules:
As discussed, you now want to gather information and review how things went during your last sprint. Ask your team members to write down or contribute their answers to the following questions:
Here is an example of how that could look in a Teamhood board once team members have contributed their answers to each question:
Once you’ve discussed what went well and what didn’t, ask your team to brainstorm actions that can be taken to improve problem areas. Again, ask them to write one idea per note if using a whiteboard in person, or to contribute one idea at a time if conducting the meeting remotely.
Post the ideas on your board under the heading “Actions to take” Group together any ideas that are similar or linked. Discuss each idea as a team. Agree as a team on which actions you want to take, and then assign a task owner to each action, plus a deadline by when the actions should be completed, if applicable.
At the start of each retrospective, you should have a list of previous actions to follow up with the various task owners. Check that each action has been done and, if not, discuss why.
It’s important to keep track of actions and ensure that they are being completed.
Every organization and every team can adapt the Agile retrospective concept to suit what works best for them. As a result, no two retrospective meetings are the same. Here are some tips we’ve compiled that can help you improve or tailor your retrospectives:
If you’d like to find out more about Agile and how it could work for your organization, check out our growing library of Agile content.
Or why not get in touch with us to see how Teamhood could help solve your Agile challenges?