The Do's and Don'ts of Sprint Retrospective

A sprint retrospective is essentially a meeting that a designated scrum team needs to have at the end of every sprint, to identify improvements for the next period. This meeting should be attended by the scrum master, the product owner, and developers as well as any other essential stakeholders. The point of the meeting is to get everyone together and explore what went well and come up with improvement areas, which will benefit the company overall.

Some questions to discuss include whether the objectives of the sprint were met, what went wrong, what things can be done to improve next time, and what learning points the team can obtain from the sprint. However, this is a special meeting that should differ from any other standard ones that organisations are used to. It is important for this to be approached correctly to increase its efficiency. Even though there is not a set way to deliver a sprint retrospective, there are still some things that you should and should not do.

This article will discuss the do’s and don’ts of sprint retrospective so that you know exactly what to do and what to avoid to have a great sprint review.

How to Conduct a Sprint Retrospective?

Do Run a Meeting at The End of Each Sprint

Sprint meetings are crucial for the improvement of a company. Therefore, you must not neglect the process. Sprints are usually the periods of time where people work the hardest, therefore it can be easy to just leave the retrospective part of the journey. Make sure that at the end of every sprint you have a retrospective meeting where all team members can reflect on how the sprint went. Make this a priority as part of the process so that everyone sticks to it every time. Neglecting it will not make things easier for the company overall and will not save you time.

Do Set An Agenda

A meeting agenda is essentially a list of all the items that will be discussed during the meeting. This is a requirement if you want to be prepared and ensure that everything is discussed with the team members. Every team requires an agenda and a sprint retrospective is no different. Before the meeting, it may be worth having a think about the type of things you want to discuss so that everyone can follow the appropriate process for the reflection.

Do Search For a Good Way To Conduct The Meeting

When people have too much work, attending yet another meeting can feel overwhelming. This is why creativity is crucial when it comes to conducting a sprint retrospective. You can Improve Your Sprint Retrospective Meeting by researching the best way to conduct this meeting. There are plenty of examples online that you can follow. Try a few different ones and switch it up until you find something that works for you and your team. This does not mean that you always need to follow the exact same protocol every time, unless this is what works for your team.

Do Take Notes

Evidently, human memory can be poor, and it is unlikely that you will remember everything that is discussed during this time. Therefore, taking notes is vital so that you can always come back to what was discussed at every meeting each time. You can have a different person to take notes so that the task does not fall on the same person each time. If the meeting is done virtually, you can even record it and watch it when needed and send it to any absent team members so that they are up to speed with what was discussed.

Do Agree on Action Points

The purpose of this meeting is to reflect on how the sprint went - it is highly unlikely that everything went as smoothly as the team would like it to. For this reason, taking notes of action points is essential so that actual improvement comes from the meeting. Discussing key points and reflecting on workload is useless unless it leads you to take action. At the end of the sprint retrospective, everyone should aim to come up with a few action points that will help improve the next sprint. This is how you will see an overall improvement in your workload and ways of working.

Do Come up With SMART Objectives

As discussed above, coming up with action points is crucial for the general improvement of the workflow. However, this should be devised in a SMART way. Any objectives that you devise should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and have a timeline. This makes you think whether you are being realistic with what you want and what you can achieve. Being realistic and having SMART objectives is crucial as it makes it easier so that you do not set yourself up to fail.

Do Take Action

A sprint retrospective should not be a meeting that happens just to ‘tick a box’. You do it for a purpose, which is to improve your team’s way of working. As discussed previously, you must decide on action points at every meeting as well as divide SMART objectives that will make it easier for you to take action. By following this process, you have no reasons to not want to take appropriate action. Having the right intentions and plan is good but it will make little difference unless behaviours are changed. Make sure to put into action anything that you discuss within the sprint retrospective as this is the sure way for you and your team to progress.

Do Ask For Feedback

The person leading the meeting should always ask for feedback so that everyone gets as much as possible from the process. Every individual is different, which means that one way of working may not necessarily suit everyone’s needs. Asking for feedback will help you ensure that you develop an appropriate way of conducting these meetings, ensure that everyone collaborates and works together and it will also get your creativity levels flowing as you may have to come up with a range of creative ways when arranging the sprint retrospective.

What To Avoid in a Sprint Retrospective?

Do Not Become Defensive During The Meeting

This is a meeting that needs to have a positive connotation attached to it. Everyone has a right to express their opinion and they should feel that they are okay to do this without repercussions. You should take on everyone’s opinions, regardless of where you stand and whether you agree with them. This will create a comfortable environment, allowing each team member to discuss their problems in a civilised manner. The last thing you want is for the team spirit to be destroyed as a result of this as it will hurt future collaborations.


Do Not Disclose The Topics Discussed Outside of The Team

It can be tempting to discuss the bulk of the sprint retrospective with others outside of the team; However, this can create some collusion and objection. If the team members suspect that any information they bring up will be disclosed to third parties, they may avoid opening up, thus reducing the positive impact of this meeting. Reassure that this is a safe space and no one will suffer unnecessary consequences if they share their opinions.


Do Not Have The Same Type of Meeting Every Time

Getting creative is crucial - as mentioned previously, people must get creative when having a sprint retrospective. When a company delivers meetings, they tend to follow a set agenda, making it look like every meeting is the same. A sprint retrospective should be a more relaxed approach and every meeting should be different rather than having a set agenda that you have to follow strictly. Check what works for people and what people tend to prefer and make changes accordingly. Creativity is a must after a sprint of hard work to make this meeting more fun and collaborative with everyone.

Do Not Leave Anyone Out

Everyone must be included. All members of the scrum team are essential to the sprint, therefore they must be present at the meeting. However, being present is not enough - people need to contribute. The meeting will lose its purpose if only one person is adding information. Getting creative, as suggested previously, will increase the likelihood of people wanting to be involved. If they know the importance of the meeting and how it will positively affect them will also be a good way to encourage them to participate. The point of this meeting is to reflect on everyone’s work and decide on what to improve - this can only be done efficiently if everyone shares what’s on their mind.

Do Not Forget To Take Time For Appreciation

A sprint retrospective is more than just discussing what went wrong and what can be improved, so this should not be the only focus. Thinking about the positives is just as vital so that these can be maintained through every sprint. Each meeting should end with a display of appreciation for each member of the team. Remind everyone of the positivity they bring into the work and thank everyone for how hard they have worked during the sprint. A team that feels appreciated is more motivated to keep doing well.

Reflecting on a sprint is vital for the progress of the company and how well the scrum team does. Even though these meetings should vary, there are things that some people do that may be incorrect and not allow for the true benefits of this process to be seen. Make use of the information discussed on this page and follow these tips on what to do and what not to do on a sprint retrospective so that it goes as smoothly as possible.
The Do's and Don'ts of Sprint Retrospective The Do's and Don'ts of Sprint Retrospective Reviewed by Opus Web Design on December 19, 2022 Rating: 5

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