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Why Not Push the Retrospective to the Next Sprint?

5 August 2013

Carlos Silva
ACSIC Tecnologia Ltda

This has been a discussion in a LinkedIn CSPO group that I would like to share with other people. Simple article, but strong message.

The question was, "Why not push the retrospective to the following sprint?"

The retrospective is an opportunity to raise facts, diagnose what needs to improve, and recognize what team did well, so this session is one of the two most important ceremonies in Scrum (the other is the daily Scrum). It has to be exactly on the last day of the sprint to give a chance for the team's reflections and follow-up on improvements.

Other important thing some guys don't do: They just leave the room without actions. What has been raised by the teammates as points of improvement categorized as "Under Team's Control" should be followed by those team members in their team backlog, and what has been raised as "Out of Team's Control" should be recorded in the ScrumMaster's impediment backlog. Both backlogs are live and subject to daily change, so they are reminders of things to be worked on.

At the end of the project it's important that the ScrumMaster invites everyone for a meeting that I call the "project retrospective," exactly the same as conducting each sprint retrospective. There, we look at the overall product development cycle's significant events, good things that could be repeated in future projects, and bad things that should be avoided forevermore.

This retrospective session is one powerful tool for any manager, even outside of the Scrum framework!

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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Bhoodev Singh, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 8/5/2013 1:16:07 AM
If you don't have sprint retro at the end of every sprint, there's a high possibility that team may not improvise in the subsequent sprint because team members don't have the data points(good, bad, etc.)from the previous sprint.Then you would lose two sprints without any improvement, for example, and then there're very high chances that the same flow may be continued throughout the project. So, where's continuous improvement??

Project retro might confuse team with sprint retro. How about if we name it like project closing ceremony where team still can talk through the overall project performance.
Glen Wang, CSM, 8/5/2013 9:41:25 PM
This question is similar like to have daily stand in morning (starting of the day) vs afternoon (end of the day).
Henry Larrymore, CSM, 1/13/2017 10:29:52 AM
I'm glad to have run across this article. I believe the author and those who commented are championing the point that, absolutely, a team implementing Scrum must conduct Retrospectives. IMHO, on this point, all should agree. The finer point that I wish to discuss is that of WHEN to do so - specifically "what day?". Like most, I have seen this done differently in many different mature organizations. I now have an opinion that is different than that of the author's original point made in the article - "It has to be exactly on the last day of the sprint to give a chance for the team's reflections and follow-up on improvements."

To me, this sounds a bit rigid, though it ensures it is done - and I get that. More to the point, I have observed, in more mature organizations, that it's best to have the Sprint Review (or Demo) on the last day of the current Sprint and the Sprint Retrospective on the first day of the next Sprint, certainly before Sprint Planning. It seems to give people the ability to decompress and serve as a clearing of the head allowing them to look back after fully committing to, and completing the present Sprint. I’ve also seen organizations count the last day of the current Sprint as a non-productive work day, because of the ceremonial meetings conducted on this day (Review and Retro). I think this is a real slippery slope and could be avoided by the clear moving of the Retrospective to the first day of the next Sprint.

Does anyone, including the author, have thoughts on this? Many thanks to you.

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