Sprint Retrospective is a Sprint wrap-up event that only Scrum Team members can attend. This allows it to be fully dedicated to the internal affairs of the team. This is because the Sprint Retrospective is primarily used to reflect on current working methods, as well as to discuss suggestions for improving them.

What is a Sprint Retrospective? – table of contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Objectives and topics of Sprint Retrospective
  3. How to conduct an effective Sprint Retrospective?
  4. Problems to be discussed
  5. Discussion and commitment
  6. Summary

Introduction

Sprint Retrospective is the meeting that ends each Sprint. It is one of the Scrum Events, which we wrote about in an overview in a separate article.

According to the official Scrum Guide, a Sprint Retrospective takes a maximum of three hours for a monthly Sprint. Or correspondingly shorter if the Scrum Team works in shorter cycles.

Objectives and topics of Sprint Retrospective

All members of the Scrum Team take part in the Sprint Retrospective. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss problems related to the Scrum Team’s work and how it handles them. However, these are not problems related to the Product being developed by the Scrum Team, but issues related to the nature and course of cooperation between Scrum Team members.

Because the issues raised are often sensitive and touchy, the Sprint Retrospective is a closed event. We can formulate its objectives in the following way:

  • to summarize the current ways of cooperation
  • to identify those problems and imperfections that require improvement
  • to suggest solutions and modifications

The goals of Sprint Retrospective are closely related to the pillars of empiricism on which Scrum is supported. The first two points are related to inspection. While the last one is related to adaptation. We wrote more about the pillars of empiricism and their role in Scrum in this article.

Sprint Retrospective

The result of the answers to the above meetings is not only a clear picture of the Scrum Team’s principles of cooperation available to all its members. The Team also makes commitments to improve cooperation and team behavior, which will be implemented in the next Sprint.

How to conduct an effective Sprint Retrospective?

Because the Sprint Retrospective is a difficult meeting, the role of the Scrum Master who moderates the discussion is crucial. Ideally, he or she should suggest to the Scrum Team members to speak next. For example, he can ask everyone to give a one-sentence summary of the ending Sprint.

Problems to be discussed

Since talking about problems in the team can stir up a lot of emotion, a common solution is to write down the issues to be discussed on separate pieces of paper. This makes it easier to express your opinion. It’s also easier to spot larger problem areas and issues that more people have concerns about.

If there are too many issues that Scrum Team puts forth, you can start by discussing the major ones. Or select collectively which issues are the most important in the opinion of the Scrum Team.

You can postpone problems for which there was not enough time during the Sprint Retrospective to the next retrospective. Of course, only in case they still occur.

Discussion and commitment

The most important parts of the Sprint Retrospective, however, are discussion and making commitments.

The discussion should focus on the causes of the problems, the moments when they occur, and their impact on the functioning of the Scrum Team. It is worth considering whether their occurrence can be avoided and with whom to discuss their solution.

Making commitments is just as important as diagnosing the problems because just knowing they exist and the causes do not translate into solving them. The result of a Sprint Retrospective is usually several commitments. If the problem affects the whole team, often one of the team members is committed to paying special attention to a particular problem in the next Sprint. And to propose its solution, or even to solve the problem itself. If, on the other hand, the problem concerns the action of a specific person, he or she commits to change his or her behavior as early as the next Sprint.

Summary

Sprint Retrospective is a summary of a Sprint from the perspective of collaboration between Scrum Team members. Its purpose is to improve efficiency and nurture the three pillars of empiricism: transparency, inspection and adaptation. Transparency, whereby all collaborators talk frankly with each other about both successes and problems that arise in the team. Inspection, which involves the frequent and reliable diagnosis of the situation in the team, and adaptation, i.e. correcting errors that arise on an ongoing basis.

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Scrum Guide | 38. What is a Sprint Retrospective? caroline becker avatar 1background

Author: Caroline Becker

As a Project Manager, Caroline is an expert in finding new methods to design the best workflows and optimize processes. Her organizational skills and ability to work under time pressure make her the best person to turn complicated projects into reality.

Scrum Guide:

  1. Glossary of basic terms, roles and notions
  2. What is Scrum?
  3. Scrum values
  4. How to implement Scrum in your company?
  5. Scrum Team - what is it and how does it work?
  6. Who is a Product Owner?
  7. The most common mistakes of Product Owner
  8. Who is the Scrum Master?
  9. Characteristics of a good Scrum Master
  10. The most common mistakes of Scrum Master
  11. What statistics and metrics should the Scrum Master track?
  12. Cooperation between Product Owner and Scrum Master
  13. Development Team in Scrum
  14. The most common mistakes of Developers
  15. Scrum artifacts
  16. Scaling Scrum
  17. Sprint Backlog
  18. What is the Product Backlog?
  19. What are User Stories?
  20. Creating the best User Story with INVEST
  21. The most common User Story mistakes
  22. User Story Acceptance Criteria
  23. Estimation and Story Points in Scrum
  24. Planning Poker
  25. Team Estimation Game
  26. Defining Increment
  27. Scrum events
  28. What is Sprint in Scrum?
  29. Scrum Team Commitments - Product Goal, Sprint Goal and Definition of Completion
  30. What is a Burndown Chart?
  31. How to create and interpret a burndown chart?
  32. Advantages and disadvantages of the burndown chart
  33. Kanban boards in Scrum and Scrumban
  34. Velocity in Scrum - Speed of the Development Team
  35. Daily Scrum
  36. Sprint Planning
  37. Sprint Review
  38. What is a Sprint Retrospective?
  39. Common mistakes during a Sprint Retrospective
  40. Product Backlog nurturing