retrospective check in questions icebreaker

21 Smart Retrospective Check in Questions (Lighten the mood)

Are you searching for some fancy retrospective check in questions? I am happy to hear that, because a good, interactive check-in can have a very positive effect on the whole retrospective. Thus, we developed some check in questions that you might like.

Retrospective Check In Questions

Kickstart your retrospective

The first phase of a retrospective consists of a warm-up. In the best case, after this warm up, even more introverted team members feel a little psychologically safer, it is easier for them to open up during the actual retrospective.

How can you reach that effect? You could write a book about that (see for example "12 workshops for team flow & mindset change”), but in short: by showing that everyone in the team is an imperfect human being. That everyone in the team makes mistakes - which is totally fine.

Retrospective Check In Questions & Icebreakers to foster Psychological safety

Following this rationale, the very first check-in could look like this:

  • Looking at the last weeks (or sprint), what was your favorite mistake (that might or might not triggered a learning)?
  • Rather indirectly, showing that everyone can learn something new: What have you learned over the last weeks (both private or professionally)?
  • Rather indirectly, emphasizing that team members need each other: When was the last time you said "thank you" to a team mate? Name the situation. In case you didn't yet articulate your thankfulness, do it now.

Of course, not every check-in has to be focused on this goal. You can also focus on laying the stage for the actual retrospective - or simply giving everyone a laugh. Thus, here are some more potential retrospective check in questions

retrospective check in questions icebreaker


Retrospective Check In questions – an example

Retrospective Check In Questions & Icebreaker Classics

  • How has your day been so far?
  • In the last week(s): What has given you energy and what has been draining your energy?
  • What's giving you energy and joy at the moment?
  • What has surprised you positively lately?
  • What makes you excited about this retrospective?
  • What was the task that took most of your time last week?
  • What was the best moment of your day yesterday?
  • Name one good thing and one bad thing about your day so far.
  • On a scale of 0 (very bad) to 10 (very good), how ready/focused are you for/on this meeting right now?

Retrospective Check In Questions & Icebreakers for getting to know each other

  • If you could only eat one meal for the rest of the week, what would it be?
  • If you had the rest of the day off, what would you do with that time?
  • What is a new and interesting thing you dealt with recently?
  • What's been a big news (think of newspapers, TV etc.) lately that you are positively excited about?

Fun & creative Retrospective Check In Questions & Icebreakers

  • Explain the course of your week as a weather report and forecast.
  • What adjective best describes your current emotional state?
  • If your last week was a movie - what would have been the headline?
  • If your last week was a song – what would it be called?
  • If your last week was a newspaper report – what would the headline be?
  • Describe the latest revelation you had.
  • With whom in our organization would you like to switch roles tomorrow and why?

By the way, you can also do this retrospective check-in with our Health Check & Retrospective Tool Echometer (no registration necessary):

Conclusion – Retrospective Check In Questions

I hope this gave you some inspiration for your next retrospective. If you want to try out 3 interactive check-ins on a whiteboard (remote and in the office), visit the linked post on the best retrospective formats for every situation.

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First question: "Looking at the last sprint, what made you sweat?" Sounds good? Try out our retro tool below.

Retrospectives increase team cohesion and productivity.