Retrospectives for Agile Projects

The purpose of the sprint retrospective is to enable the scrum team to assess what went well during the sprint and identify what could be improved.  It should, therefore, focus on the inspect and adapt the process of agile.   Similarly to the Sprint Review, it should also take place at the end of the Sprint and should last less than one hour (typically 45 minutes) per week of the Sprint.  The Sprint Review should then follow the Sprint Retrospective. Both meetings, however, should be conducted before the Sprint Planning session for the next Sprint.  During the meeting, the Scrum Team will reflect on the previous Sprint and identify methods for continuous process improvement.

59 Seconds Agile - Retrospective for Agile Projects
59 Seconds Agile – Retrospective for Agile Projects


To get the desired benefit out of the sprint retrospective the meeting should be structured such that the scrum team achieves more than simply answering a series of questions in turn.  It should be an open discussion, and the stage should, therefore, be set to promote an open discussion.  The session should focus on gathering useful data. It is important to correlate experiences that need to be addressed while gathering insights into what can be done to improve things.  The team must decide what needs to be done moving forward and also evaluate the retrospective to assess its effectiveness. 


The retrospective outputs focus on delivering improvements to the people, processes, and tools used in every sprint.  Through the inspect and adapt agile processes the scrum team can modify their procedures in order to increase future productivity and velocity.  The session should be in a trusting environment where each of the scrum team members is listened to and also respected.  The outputs should be input into the product backlog and at least one retrospective action goes into the next sprint.  While this action may be from the current session or from a previous one.   

Sprint Retrospective

The Sprint Retrospective should look to determine:

  • What went well?
  • What did not go well?
  • How implementing change should be done?
  • What have we learned?
  • What still puzzles us?
  • Do any impediments keep repeating?
  • What would we like to change?
  • What is keeping us from increasing the velocity?

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