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2 tips for the DAKI retrospective incl. examples

Are you an Agile Coach or Scrum Master looking for the "DAKI drop add keep improve retrospective"? Great, then you've come to the right place – the DAKI retrospective is one of my personal favorites (I'll talk about it later). But let me explain it briefly:


DAKI (Drop Add Keep Improve)

The 4 questions to ask at a DAKI retrospective:

First things first: DAKI is a simple acronym for "drop add keep improve" – who would have thought? 😂 All kidding aside. The DAKI Retro is one of the more unspectacular retrospectives with its 4 pretty simple questions (but you'll see, these questions pack a punch). – This is what the retrospective usually looks like on a digital whiteboard or on paper:

Daki drop add keep improve retrospective

Whiteboard Template – DAKI (Drop Add Keep Improve) Retrospective

As you can see, even the design is rather simple, but you'll see right away that the devil is hiding in the details here (or should I say, the strength in the details?).


Here are some brief examples of all four questions in advance: "drop? – add? – keep? – improve?"

  • Drop: [Optional: Looking at the last sprint / weeks] What should we leave out?
    • Example: You were not happy with the new tool that is supposed to help with prioritization & transparency of the Product Backlog. You should not use it anymore.
  • Add: What should we start with?
    • Example: You have the feeling that not everyone in your team dares to speak up, there is a lack of so-called psychological safety.tSo you think about implementing a Team health check in 3 steps in your team. (More info about: "psychological safety" or "Team health check in 3 steps")
  • Keep: What should we do as before?
    • Example: You changed your daily, asking only one question. This produced better results, so you should keep it.
  • Improve: What should we do more of?
    • Example: It's good to look at agile metrics from time to time. That hasn't happened much lately unfortunately! We should get better at keeping track of our metrics. (More info on: "agile metrics")

By the way, you can also find this retrospective in our Echometer tool and perform it online with your team (without registration):

Open Feedback Questions

Drop: What should we drop?

Add: What should we add?

Keep: What should we keep?

Improve: What should we improve?

Daki Retrospective vs. KALM Retrospective

Maybe you noticed, that at first glance there is not much difference between the DAKI model and the KALM retrospective "keep adding less more". 

But buckle up tight, because here's why I'd choose the DAKI retrospective over the KALM retrospective any day.

improve vs. more (improve vs. more)

At first glance, you might not see the difference here, but as I said before, the devil is in the details. Continuous improvement is, in my opinion, one of the secrets (not really a secret, I think) to "becoming the best version of yourself" personally or as a team. But there is so much more to improvement than "doing more of something". For example, you can improve at things that are important but not yet as good as you'd like them to be. And "doing more" of something is only a tiny fraction of what "improving" entails for me.

And even if the word doesn't seem that much different at first glance – the unconscious processes that go on inside you are very different. Therefore, "improve" takes home the win here for me....


less vs. drop (less vs. omit)

Now we can take another look at "less vs. drop". – When was the last time you did less of something and why? – For me, it was reducing the amount of time I spent in meetings. 

Because meetings massively degraded my productivity. But there was also a reason why I was attending those meetings in the first place, and that was "communication" or "information sharing." So in this case, I wanted to spend less time in meetings, but maintain the flow of information within the team. "Less" meetings were therefore not the right way for me – I needed to improve the way I shared information with my colleagues (improve according to the DAKI method). 

For me, "less" of something is always a sign that I need to improve in that area.

My credo: Either I improve at something (in this case, sharing the same amount of information in less time) or I don't do it at all. And hey, that's what this is all about – less vs. drop?


Conclusion – DAKI Retrospective

I don't know about you, but for me, the DAKI (Drop Add Keep Improve) retrospective is the clear winner and one of my favorite retrospective formats to reflect and become a better team week after week.

If you like the Daki Retrospective, you'll probably like this too: 54 retrospectives for beginners and professionals.

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First question: "😍 We love going to work, and have great fun working together."

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