My Two Favourite Retrospectives

My favourite retrospectives are two classics, and never get boring.

The Starfish

The Starfish retrospective is a great way to find out what a scrum team can change about the way they work during a sprint.

Starfish Retrospective - my go to!

How to run

  1. Draw a star on a whiteboard or flip chart and label the five sections: 
    1. Start: What does the team want to start doing during the next sprint (or next project) to improve the way they work together or deliver products? 
    2. Stop: What are the things that do not bring value to the team and should be stopped before the next sprint or project? 
    3. More: What are the things we’re doing well that we need more of on our team? 
    4. Less: Which activities burn more time and energy than the value they create? 
    5. Keep: What are the practices, experiments or ideas we need to keep because we’ve seen them as positive changes that we want to preserve?
  2. Explain to your team the various sections could contain answers to the listed questions above.
  3. Ask the team to generate as many ideas for each area as possible.
    Give a few minutes for each participant to place their comments on the board and read them out loud.
  4. When all areas have been filled, facilitate a short discussion about what the team shared. Point out trends and patterns.
    Ask each person to vote for the Start and Stop items that resonate with them most.
  5. Explore the Start and Stop items that got the most votes, then generate measurable changes or experiments to try during next sprint or iteration of the project.

Start, Stop, Continue Retrospective

A start stop continue retrospective is a simple and effective way for teams to reflect on their recent experiences and decide on what things they should change as they move forward.
  • Start: Activities are those things the team will begin doing in the next cycle. 
  • Stop: Looks back at the previous cycle of the project to identify which things didn’t work and should cease. 
  • Continue: Identifies things that worked in the previous cycle and need to be part of the team’s core activities

Benefits 

This retrospective technique:
  • Gives teams an opportunity to review how they are going and identify improvements they can implement in the future. 
  • Makes it easier for teams to clarify issues, weight the impact of ideas, and reach a consensus based on shared priorities. Is very action orientated and provides momentum and energy for the team. Each item on the list results in behavioral change. 
  • Empowers teams to continuously improve the way they work. 

How to run 

Team members think about what actions they should start, stop, and continue doing as a team.
This step can be done individually or in small groups, then combined to reflect the whole team’s outlook.
After enough ideas have been generated, get team members to vote for the most important item or items.

The Scrum Master can have each team member vote for the one, most important idea or can use any typical multi-voting approach. For example, give each team member three votes to allocate as they wish (including all three votes to the same items).

Photo by Jean-Karim Dangou on Unsplash
In addition to voting for new items to use, discuss whether items on the continue list have been achieved, are no longer important or should be otherwise removed from the list.