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Key Elements of the Sprint Retrospective

24 April 2014

The sprint retrospective is a meeting facilitated by the ScrumMaster at which the team discusses the just-concluded sprint and determines what could be changed that might make the next sprint more productive. The sprint review looks at what the team is building, whereas the retrospective looks at how they are building it.

The retrospective includes three main questions/points for discussion:
  • What went well during the sprint cycle?
  • What went wrong during the sprint cycle?
  • What could we do differently to improve?
The sprint retrospective is an important mechanism that allows a team to continuously evolve and improve throughout the life of a project.

It is important that everyone, including the team, product owner, and ScrumMaster, get a chance to air their opinions in an open, honest, yet constructive atmosphere. It often also helps management to get feedback from the team about the work and progress of project.

Key elements of the sprint retrospective:
  • Process improvements are made at the end of every sprint. This ensures that the project team is always improving the way it works.
  • The retrospective is a collaborative process among all members, including the team, the product owner, and the ScrumMaster.
  • All team members identify what went well and what could be improved.
  • The team members discuss the process that they are following and give any suggestions for improvement.
  • The team members discuss any other ideas that could improve their productivity.
  • The ScrumMaster prioritizes actions and lessons learned based on team direction.
  • The retrospective supports team formation and bonding, particularly as any areas of conflict can be identified and dealt with.
  • The retrospective helps build the team's sense of ownership and its self-management.

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.

Article Rating

Current rating: 3.4 (27 ratings)


Tim Baffa, CSM, 4/25/2014 12:17:00 PM
Encouraging the "feedback" loop is critical to facilitating a model of continuous improvement.
Jai Singhal, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 4/30/2014 10:24:59 AM
Good article, Rishi.

Retrospectives must be engaging. It is important for the team members to find ways to improve. This ensures their commitment to improve the "how" aspect.
Sureshbabu Thadikamalla, CSP,CSM, 7/22/2015 1:20:18 PM
Good Article.

No matter how good a Scrum team is, there is always opportunity to improve.

Although a good Scrum team will be constantly looking for improvement opportunities, the team should set aside a brief, dedicated period at the end of each sprint to deliberately reflect on how they are doing and to find ways to improve.

This occurs during the sprint retrospective.
Anonymous, 10/8/2015 10:54:46 AM
Good article! I'm looking for a different way to run the retrospective meeting with a global scrum team through conf call.... if you guys have any idea, please let me know!

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