What are the Key Elements for a Successful Agile Retrospective?


Understanding Agile Methodologies


Each organization has a unique requirement for different circumstances. Agile provides other testing methods and methodologies, which can help them to meet their goals. Scrum and Kanban are the two primary Agile methodologies. The cross-functional teams prefer Scrum, which works on a product with tasks divided into one or more iteration. Goals and key features are defined before each sprint starts to complete a particular set of product increments or tasks.

On the other hand, Kanban is an extensive to-do list where the need  is tracked according to their level or stage in the process. Unlike Scrum, it is not based on time. The priority here is the task at hand.

The application of agile methodologies in development teams is beneficial. They are a great tool to provide high-quality products and flexibility along with early delivery. Simplilearn scrum master training gives a brief knowledge of the same. It should be understood that agile methodologies are not applied only for a specific sprint or an iteration. The essential part of agile is to reflect on what you have done well and what you need to improve beyond an iteration or a specific project. This is where agile retrospective comes into the frame. 

Understanding an Agile Retrospective

At the end of each sprint, a meeting tends to occur, which is called an agile retrospective during the development of a project and after completing the project. The team reflects on the happenings during that period in the meeting. The team reflects on both the negative and positive aspects and establishes a goal that focuses on improving or correcting the issue they might have observed. The goal is to develop exact steps and to learn from the process to improve in the future.

Organizing an Agile Retrospective 

Retrospectives may vary according to the team’s need and the project you are working on, and there is no standard winning formula. However, there is a need for three basic things: someone to facilitate the meeting – a scrum master is preferred, a set amount of time – to carry out and prepare the retrospective), and a plan which tells how it will be structured. It is also advised to include a few materials like makers, a whiteboard, sticky notes to note down everyone’s thoughts, and a timer to make sure everyone is focused and that you don’t run out of time. If you are working remotely, you have an option to carry out retrospectives online using tools like Parabol and RemoteRetro. Simplilearn scrum master training will help you master everything that you need to make a successful retrospective.

A few necessary steps to be followed in a classic retrospective:

  1. Take some time before the meeting to prepare the space with the materials you have chosen to use.
  2. Once everyone is gathered, set the stage, and explain the working of agile retrospective. 
  3. Let everyone take some time, note down what they think went well in the development process, and then discuss each point in detail. 
  4. Repeat the previous step but this time, focus on the improvements needed.
  5. Work on establishing an actionable and concrete idea on how things can be improved, which went wrong at the first pace, and carry actions that would positively impact. 

Successful Agile Retrospective

Retrospectives might take many shapes but there a few things to be executed to make your agile retrospective successful.

  1. Planning: You don’t have much time to spare specifically for agile retrospective and, if you do have, it might have the opposite effect. A structured plan helps keep everyone on track and get the most out of the meeting. Indeed, some time should be allotted for people to plan a fallthrough. Everyone should be lead to get back to the topic at hand – it is a responsibility.
  2. Encourage communication: For everyone to voice their opinions, it should be made sure that they are comfortable enough to be honest. Otherwise, the agile retrospective won’t work at all.
  3. Include the positives: Focusing on what needs to be worked on might lead to a negative impact. However, focusing on what has been done well is equally important. Doing this will help the team morale and make it easy to apply what worked down the road.
  4. Consistency: Retrospectives work done consistently and periodically. Even if you and your team have a lot to discuss after a specific sprint, you might have a great and surprisingly fantastic meeting.
  5. Don’t get frustrated: You might have worked a lot and spent much time planning a perfect retrospective, but it might happen that everything would fall apart during the execution. Try not to get frustrated, stressed over this, and instead focus on the improvements needed. You can also have a retrospective for discussing the retrospective itself if it is a running issue. 

Simplilearn scrum master training will help you in the proper execution of the plans. Bringing fresh ideas to the table always helps the team to stay motivated. You can use different ideas like checking in and out – at the beginning and end of the meeting with a 1-2 minute simple task. It would help everyone to draw their feelings or note down their general thoughts about the sprint. You can also mix it up. You can add twists and variations to simple questions like “what needs improvement? Or what went well?”. For example: start, stop, continue. You can also have a themed retrospective. Take your imagination a step further and think of a specific theme that your team might like. 


The retrospective is not only about focusing on what needs to be worked on. It is equally important to focus on the positives. Your team should take some time to acknowledge each other’s accomplishments or thanks to each other for their help. This would give them excellent support and boost their confidence and make it easy for them to share their thoughts and what’s going on in their mind. Simplilearn scrum master training will provide you with more ideas on how you can make retrospective fun.


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