Ideas For Year-End NewYear Retrospectives

12 Retrospective Ideas for Winter, Christmas and New Year

Especially at the turn of the year, there are good opportunities to adapt the format of the retrospective to the Christmas season and New Year. In this article we share a few ideas on how good metaphors can spark creativity and reflection in the team. Have fun getting inspired!

If you're looking for retrospective ideas that work throughout the whole year, I warmly recommend to check out our post 32 kickass retrospective ideas for agile teams.

Create the right setting for a year-end and new year retro

In every retrospective, it is important to set the right framework. Usually, retrospectives focus on the “sprint” as a reference period. Around Christmas time, it can be worthwhile to consciously stretch the frame a little further.

By consciously looking at the entire year, more comprehensive, overarching reflections can arise in the team that otherwise tend to get lost in sprint retrospectives.

In the following ideas for your Christmas, year-end or New Year retrospectives, I always use the whole year as a frame of reference. If you prefer, you can of course simply paraphrase the questions so that they relate to a shorter period of time –, for example a quarter, or a sprint.

Icebreaker Ideas for the agile Christmas Retrospective

The retro should start (according to the 6 phases of every good retrospective) with an icebreaker or a warm-up to get in the right mood for the agile workshop (see our blog post: Every good agile retrospective has these 6 phases).

Simple, good retrospective icebreaker questions for Christmas in addition to the standard questions can be, for example, the following - you can also adapt them to New Year, of course (Here you will find 21 Icebreaker classics for every season):

  • Reflection on the last few weeks: If our last agile sprint was Christmas, what was the weather like?
  • Reflection on the last few weeks: Imagine our last sprint was the family Christmas get-together. What was the best present (alternatively: best moment, biggest mess...)?
  • To get to know each other: What is your favorite Christmas tradition (alternatively: New Year's tradition)?
  • To get to know each other: What is your favorite meal at Christmas (alternatively: at New Year)?
  • To get to know each other: What was your worst (funny) Christmas experience or memory (alternative: New Year's experience)?

If you want to make it even more visual, you can of course also use a Scrum Retrospective Whiteboard from our Echometer tool for your Retro Icebreaker. Below is an example that may provide an interactive introduction: Which face best describes your attitude towards the new year? You can even use this Retro Icebreaker in our tool (for free) using the button.

Icebreaker for your New Year's sprint retrospective

Duration: 3-10 minutes | Goal: Find out the goals & needs of colleagues
Click on the screenshot for an overview of the Retrospective Icebreaker for Christmas or New Year.

Icebreaker Board Template for your Christmas Retrospective

Duration: 3-10 minutes | Objective: Reflection on the last Scrum Sprint
Christmas Sprint Retrospective New Year Board Tool - Agile
Click on the screenshot for an overview of the Retrospective Icebreaker for Christmas or New Year.

Ideas For The Christmas Retrospective

The first two retro ideas are specifically aimed at Christmas as an occasion.

Christmas retrospective format 1

🎄 The Christmas Tree Retrospective

Open questions

Candles on the Christmas tree: What epiphanies did we have this year?

Gifts under the Christmas tree: Which of your wishes were fulfilled (perhaps by a team member) this year?

Wish list: What wishes have unfortunately not been taken into account this year?

Christmas retrospective format 2

🎅 Nicholas & Knecht Ruprecht retrospective

Open questions

Nicholas: What positive qualities and good deeds will Santa Claus praise us for this year?

Servant Rupert: What negligence this year might have been noticed by Servant Rupert?

Christmas retrospective format 3

⭐️ Christmas Star Retrospective

Open questions

Direction: Where do I wish for guidance?

Light: What gives me light and strength?

Time: What will shine for a long time?

Constellation: Which stars can we connect, which patterns can we recognize?

Ideas For The Year-End Retrospective

Are Christmas retro formats inappropriate in your team? No problem. A year-end retro can also be designed objectively without Santa Claus and a Christmas tree:

Year-end retrospective Format 1

🔙🏔 The Mountaineers Retro (Retrospective)

Open questions

Detours: Looking back, where did we take detours?

Obstacles: Where did we encounter obstacles?

Bridges: What support have we received as a team along the route that we should be grateful for?

Findings: What preparation tips would we give to a team that is now embarking on the same journey?

End-of-year retrospective Format 2

🥂The New Year's Eve retrospective

Open questions

Review: Which intentions could be implemented?

Toast: What should we toast to?

Resolutions: What new resolutions do we have for next year?

Ideas for the New Year retrospective

For the New Year, on the other hand, you can look further ahead in the retrospective. This works, for example, with these retro formats:

New Year's retrospective format 1

🏔🔜 The Mountaineers Retro (Outlook)

Analogous to the retrospective mountain climber retro, this format can also be used wonderfully for the outlook into the new year:

Open questions

Milestones: What milestones are on our route this year?

Obstacles: What obstacles await us on our route before each of these milestones?

Preparation: What preparations should we make / pack gear to best tackle all the milestones for the coming year?

New Year's retrospective format 2

🎆 The Fireworks Retro

Open questions

Toast: Which successes of the past year can we toast to together?

Goodbyes: What problems from last year do we want to say goodbye to in the coming year?

Resolutions: What resolutions for the New Year could we reasonably make?


5 ideas for winter retrospectives

All the presents are unwrapped, the bellies are full and the Christmas lights are switched off again. So that the lights don't go out in your team after the holidays and you don't fall into hibernation, we have prepared 5 ideas for winter retrospectives for you. You will be able to toboggan easily until February. Hold on tight and let's go.

Winter Retrospective Format 1

🧣 The winter retro

Open questions

Snow: What have we almost forgotten under the blanket of snow?

Ice: Where do we have to be careful not to slip?

Stove: What warms us up again?

Anticipation: What can we hardly wait for?

retrospective idea winter

Winter Retrospective Format 2

☃️ The Snowman Retro

Open questions

Lower Ball: What is the basis on which we can build?

Medium ball: What keeps us together?

Head: In which direction do we want to look? What do we want to keep in mind?

Cap: Which nice-to-haves would be great?

agile sprint winter retrospective snowman

Winter Retrospective Format 3

🛷 The sledge retro

Open questions

Rise: Where was it worth pulling up the sled?

Lift: When would we have liked to have had a lift for support?

Sledge ride: Which sledge ride was particularly fun?

Obstacle: Where did we have to be careful not to fall over?

winter agile sprint retrospective new year snow slide

Winter Retrospective Format 4

❄️ The Snowflakes Retro

Open questions

Crystal: What makes us unique?

Snowflake: Which partnerships make us strong?

Wind: What gives us momentum?

Warmth: What melts us?

Winter Retrospective Format 5

🐿 The hibernation retro

Open questions

Sleep: What relaxes us?

Nuts: What gives us strength?

Cave: What gives us security?

Cold: What should we watch out for?

Bonus Tips For Retrospectives

Are Christmas retro formats inappropriate in your team? No problem. A year-end retro can also be designed objectively without Santa Claus and a Christmas tree:

📚 Tips For Moderating Team Retros

Are you still inexperienced with retrospectives or do you not use the format regularly? Then the retrospective at the turn of the year is probably a very good start for you and your team.

If you would like tips for moderating retrospectives, take a look at our eBook for moderation for retrospectives . Here we have compiled all the essential tips for retrospectives in an easily understandable and compact way.

eBook preview - a practitioners guide to establishing a powerful change process using retrospectives

🏅 Practice Makes Perfect

Team retrospectives work best if you make them a regular routine in your team. 

We have developed Echometer so that you can easily establish this retro routine for the coming year (without having to invest hours in preparation and follow-up each time).

Echometer offers you:

  • Up to 80% time savings in the preparation and follow-up of retrospectives (Ø 90 minutes per retro on 20 minutes) ⌛️
  • Guaranteed success through satisfaction surveys to the team after each retro (Ø score of> 8.2 / 10) 👏
  • Visualize team development through continuous team health checks 📊

Have a look how Echometer simplifies your team development and makes it measurable and try it out for yourself!

But now I wish you a wonderful and insightful retrospective at the turn of the year!

If you want to shape your team sustainably I recommend to implement a continuous agile team health check. The best way to do so is through our free Agile Team Health Check kit.

By the way, if you are still looking for a suitable retro board, our article can help you with the topic: Comparing the 6 best retrospective boards

Most Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters run in circles...

...fixing superficial symptoms. Time to use psychology to foster sustainable mindset change.

"Many team members are afraid to speak up!"

"We discover too many unexpected issues & bugs at a late stage!"

"Why does it sometimes take me hours to prepare a simple retrospective?"

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Need a team boost? Do this: The Spotify Health Check Retrospective!

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

Sounds good? Try our retro tool for free below.

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