Many Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters search for the best agile retrospective questions - but which ones could that be? Obviously this really depends on your taste and many other things. But by looking at which methods are being used most often, we might find some pattern that will help us to find the best agile retrospective questions.
Best agile retrospective questions
Some considerations on the “best” retrospective questions
Honestly, the best agile retrospective questions are always those that are asking the right questions at the right time, perfectly fitting the team’s needs. Thus, I generally recommend to have a look at a few different methods to find the right one’s for your team.
For example, it might be summer and brutally hot. Not everyone is motivated for a retrospective. You might play with that a little and do the summer retrospective (you can find it in this list of great ideas for retrospectives). Same applies to a Christmas or Easter retrospective, if it is the right (or "most wonderful") time of the year.
Looking at the rational above, in my experience as Scrum Master and Psychologist I would say there are two retrospective ideas that are the most common ones, thus, you might call them the best agile retrospective questions.
Some great retrospective questions
The core question, in my opinion definitely one of the best agile retrospective questions that every retrospective should include in some way or another is the following:
- Warum haben wir es nicht geschafft, alle für die letzte Iteration festgelegten User Stories abzuschließen?
So if you only want to ask one question, I would recommend you to ask this one – assuming of course you are working in Scrum sprints/iterations. If you don't do this, you can also keep the question more abstract: why haven't we perfectly achieved the goal we set until today?
The most typical questions that are asked in a retrospective are basically the three questions - the good bad retrospective:
- Looking at the last weeks, what went well?
- Looking at the last weeks, what went not so well?
- Looking at the last weeks, what can we improve?
The other very common retrospective idea is the so called “Keep stop start retrospective”. It consists of three questions, you might already guessed which ones:
- What should we keep doing?
- Stop: What should we stop doing?
- Start: What should we start doing?
To give your retro that certain something, playful check-ins are worthwhile. Your goal should be that everyone has contributed at least once. Because the rule of thumb applies: if you don’t say anything at check-in, you won’t say anything in the rest of Retro either… Here’s an example:
Retro game on the online whiteboard
Duration: 5-15 minutes | Goal: Setting the stage
Idea: If our last sprint would be a face, which one would it be? Let them choose from the given images and explain their choice.
If you like this game, here is a list of the 15 Best Online Retrospective Games – would like to take a look
Conclusion – best agile retrospective questions
If you are interested in other popular, more fancy retrospective ideas, like for example the sailboat retrospective or the Mario Kart retrospective, you can find them in our list of kickass retrospective ideas. I am sure you will find what you will need in there .
As you might have seen, you can even open these retrospectives in our Echometer Retrospective Tool. It helps you to facilitate the retrospective in a fun and productive way - with the possibility to include a continuous team health check. Feel free to have a look!