Retrospective ideas agile

54 Fresh Retrospective Ideas for Healthy Agile Teams in 2023

Happy New Year! 🎆 You can find New Year's Retrospective ideas following this link ☃️🍾

The retrospective ideas at a glance

Before we start, our view on this: These are the best Retrospective Ideas for striving Agile Teams:

  1. Spotify Health Check: Do we deliver stuff quickly?
  2. 4L - Liked, Learn, Lack, Long: What did we learn lately?
  3. Tetris Retrospective: What was the missing piece?
  4. Glad, Sad, Mad: What made you mad in the last sprint?
  5. Mario Kart Retro: How to increase our velocity?
  6. Start, Stop, Continue: What should we start doing?
  7. Chef’s Retro: Which were the missing ingredients?
  8. Rose, Bud, Thorne: What things are waiting to blossom?
  9. Hot Air Balloon Retro: What sandbags are decelerating us?
  10. Sailboat Retrospective: What is our wind?

What should a retrospective include? Well, a retrospective should include reflecting work from a different angle. Ever had a retrospective with low energy and zero feedback? Right - you don’t want that. 

This is why you need a different angle. And why you will find quite a few different retrospective format ideas you did not know yet in this post: If you want to challenge your team morale, do the "Team Morale Health Check". If you need a fresh perspective, do the 7 Dwarfs Retrospective. Or is everyone on vacation? Then go with the vacation retro.

We do not have 40 retrospective ideas - we tried to focus on quality instead of quantity. The formats will trigger your team's creativity to reflect and deliver something to improve on, something that is worth a great action item. Let’s start with some hints and tips before we dive deeper into the retrospective format ideas.

Retrospective Scrum meeting: A few hints before we start🚦

In case you are new to agile retrospectives, feel free to go through our short and crisp “Retrospectives – Everything you need to know” guide.

Good to know: Typically, the Scrum retrospective duration is roughly between 45 (up to 5 team members) and 90 minutes (up to 12 team members). If you are able to, rather block even more time. You should use a timer to timebox all of the 5 phases of a retrospective If you have struggles with timeboxing in a retro, we have some timekeeping tips for retrospectives here.

Given this tight schedule, you should definitely make sure to have your retro format and retrospective meeting notes well prepared - find some help for that below.

In case you are doing the retrospective meeting format remotely in a distributed team, you may ask: how to conduct a retrospective meeting online? Well, you can find an answer in our retro tool comparison. But for all the fun retrospective meeting ideas, we include the button “open this retro now” anyway. It will lead you to our retrospective meeting online tool Echometer - which is the one we recommend.

In case you are searching for a sprint retrospective template ppt (i.e., a powerpoint), feel free to just copy the questions and image we have below into a powerpoint presentation. Although it would be even easier to just click on the button beside the retrospective meeting techniques - as you prefer. 🙂

Retrospective scrum meeting: How to start a retrospective meeting 🏁

Pretty relevant before we go into the main part of this post: How to start a retrospective meeting? Looking at the 5 phases of a retrospective this is quite simple. One of the first points for a retrospective meeting: You start with an icebreaker, with a check-in. If you need some inspiration for that, just have a look at the best retro check-ins for any context. But now let’s get into our fun retrospective ideas!

The Best Retrospective Ideas: Classics

Let’s start with the best agile retrospectives ideas - or at least the five most common ones, before we focus on different retrospective ideas.

To make it short, I am talking about the scrum retrospective start stop keep (aka start stop continue), the retrospective liked learned lacked (aka “retro liked learned lacked longed for” or 4l retrospective), the mysterious scrum retrospective with 3 questions, the sailboat retro, the mad sad glad retro and “thumbs up, thumbs down, new ideas and recognition”. Find more on them below!

Retrospective idea 1 - Scrum retrospective 3 questions

The What Went Well retro 👍

Before we go into the more creative retrospective meeting formats, another simple and interesting retrospective idea is the following one. It is a very basic retrospective format. Looking at the last sprint:

  • What went well?
  • What went not so well?
  • How can we improve?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: Share a meme of your choice that characterizes the last sprint (use the Echometer whiteboard).
  • Meeting closing: What's your favorite quote from this retro?

Retrospective idea 2

The Mad Sad Glad retrospective 😯

The mad sad glad retrospective has a similar pattern but uses three typical emotions to make it more interesting for the team to reply to your retrospective questions. A pretty basic retrospective format:

  • What made you mad? 😤
  • What made you sad? 😢
  • What made you glad? 🤩

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: What was the best moment of your day yesterday?
  • Meeting closing: What are you looking forward to after work?

Retrospective idea 3

The Scrum retrospective Start Stop Keep 🔖

The scrum retrospective start stop keep is also known as the start stop continue retrospective. We actively recommend using the “keep stop start retro” (in this order), because it changes how the feedback reinforces a positive effect on the following retrospective question.

  • What should we keep doing?
  • Stop: What should we stop doing?
  • Start: What should we start doing?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: Everyone shares a picture (e.g., from Google) that describes the last sprint. Use the Echometer whiteboard. Attention: Then, explain one of the other images, not your own.
  • Meeting closing: What do you personally take away from this retro?

Retrospective idea 4

The retrospective liked learned lacked longed for 📘

The “retro liked learned lacked longed for” is called 4l retrospective because the 4 key questions are each composed by a word beginning with “l” - obviously. Looking at the last weeks or the last scrum sprint:

  • Like: What did you like?
  • What did you learn?
  • What did you lack?
  • What did you long for?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: What is the last revelation you had (personally or professionally)?
  • Meeting closing: From your perception, what word came up most often in this retro?

Retrospective idea 5

Retrospective idea agile: The Sailboat retrospective ⛵️

Now, with this retrospective idea we are getting more creative making use of a metaphor: The sailboat. Imagine your team or your last sprint as a sailboat. 

  • ⚓️ Your anchor: What holds us back?
  • 🦈🧊 Your shark/iceberg: Which dangers or obstacles approach us?
  • 💨 Your tailwind: What drives us forward?
  • 🏝💰 Your paradise: What achievement or milestones are we working towards?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: Choose one of the boats on the Echometer whiteboard – which one best matches our last sprint?
  • Meeting closing: If you were actually sailing around the world, what would you name your boat?

Retrospective idea 5

DAKI (Drop Add Keep Improve) Retrospective ✂️

The DAKI Retrospective, standing for the words "Drop Add Keep Improve", is a simple acronym that is traditionally used as a retrospective framework. 

  • Drop: What should we drop?
  • Add: What should we add?
  • Keep: What should we keep?
  • Improve: What should we improve?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: When have you ever thrown something away where you felt really good afterwards? Write it on the whiteboard.
  • Meeting closing: Who is your personal "Star of the Retro" (i.e., person that made important contributions)?

Retrospective idea 5

Three Little Pigs Retro 🐷

The "The Three Little Pigs" retrospective is based on the fairy tale of the same name, in which 3 pigs build three houses from completely different materials. Of course, the three houses turn out to be differently robust. The question is – what material are the results in your team built from?

  • House of straw: What do we do that is just holding together, but could topple over at any moment? 🌱
  • House of sticks: What do we do that is relatively stable, but could be improved? 🪵
  • House of bricks: What do we do that is rock solid? 🪨

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: Which style of living do you personally prefer: modern & simple stone, timeless & lively wood, or a colorful mix of materials? Position yourself on one of the houses (see Echometer whiteboard).
  • Meeting closing: What action item do you like most from this retro?

Retrospective idea 5

The Starfish Sprint Retrospective ⭐️

The starfish sprint retrospective is visually interesting: 5 questions are asked, which can be optimally divided into the columns of a starfish. The sprint retrospective "Starfish" tends to take a little longer with 5 questions. 

  • Keep: [Optional: Looking at the last sprint / weeks] What should we keep doing, keep as it is?
  • Stop: What should we stop doing?
  • Start: What should we start doing?
  • More: What should we do more of?
  • Less: What should we do less of?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: Which of these sea creatures is your favorite: dolphin, starfish, shark, jellyfish, orca, clown fish or [choose your own]? Position yourself on the Echometer whiteboard.
  • Meeting closing: What do you personally take away from this retro?

Retrospective idea 6

Thumbs up, Thumbs down, new ideas and recognition 👍👎

Before we go into the more creative retrospective meeting formats, another simple and interesting retrospective idea is the following one. It is a very basic retrospective format. Looking at the last sprint:

  • What do you give your “thumbs up” for?
  • What do you give your “thumbs down” for?
  • Which new ideas do you have?
  • Who or what do you want to recognize, highlight positively?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: What has surprised you positively lately (professionally or personally)?
  • Meeting closing: If you were to write a newspaper article about this retro, what would the headline be?

Alright, thumbs up for these classics? If it is rather a “thumbs down”, you might like the following agile sprint retrospective ideas that are even more fun and creative. There are some somewhat playful and fun retrospective ideas as well as some health checks (more on Agile team health checks here).

Retrospective ideas as Team Health Check Radar

A radar chart is a nice overview to show the results of Team Health Checks - and as we are developing a retrospective tool that focuses on continuous health checks based on psychology, we can help with that. Here you can find a few retrospective ideas including radar charts.

Agile Retrospective ideas

Health Check Retro: Spotify Squad Health Check 👩🏻‍💻

The Spotify Health Check (based on the Spotify model) is one of the classics when it comes to frameworks to scale agile. The nice thing about it: The Spotify Health Check Retrospective can be carried out in tribes (several teams) as well as in individual teams. 

Note: This retrospective format asks for agreement with the given Health Check items on a scale.

Team Radar Tool Health Check Retrospective
  • Speed: We get stuff done really quickly. No waiting, no delays.
  • Tech Quality: We’re proud of the quality of our code! It is clean, easy to read, and has great test coverage.
  • Learning: We’re learning lots of interesting stuff all the time!
  • Mission: We know exactly why we are here, and we are really excited about it.
  • Other items (customizable)

Agile Retrospective ideas

Health Check Retro: The 5 Agile Values 5️⃣

For example, the U.S. online learning platform agile values and principles belong to the basics of a Scrum course. Only when you live up to them, you can reach higher agile maturity levels as a team. This health check helps you to reflect on the 5 agile Scrum values from a different perspective with your team - and to make them measurable. See below for an impression of the questions asked.

Note: This retrospective format asks for agreement with the given Health Check items on a scale.

Team Radar Tool Health Check Retrospective
  • Courage: We value people showing courage.
  • Respect: We value each other’s ideas, even when disagreeing.
  • Commitment: Every team member is committed to follow through on what they have promised.
  • Focus: We don’t allow ourselves to be distracted from reaching the sprint goal.
  • Openness: We are open to constructive feedback and grow from it.

Agile Retrospective ideas

Health Check Retro: Netflix Culture 🎥

Netflix has created a unique corporate culture which is known for its innovativeness. And "Pace of innovation is all that matters in the long run ", as Elon Musk puts it. In this respect, feel free to do a Health Check Retrospective inspired by Netflix to check your Innovation capacity health.

Note: This retrospective format asks for agreement with the given Health Check items on a scale.

Team Radar Tool Health Check Retrospective
  • Iterative: With every idea my colleagues have, I have the opportunity to contribute my feedback and criticism at an early stage.
  • Feedback culture: I like to share my feedback and criticism on ideas from my colleagues.
  • Ideagineering: Our internal feedback is of great help in further developing ideas at an early stage.

Agile Retrospective ideas

Health Check Retro: Growth Mindset 🧠

"Agile Being over Agile Doing" or "It depends on the agile mindset and not on the agile processes" – we often hear something like that from Agile Coaches (by the way, you should question that – more about this in our eBook "12 workshops on team flow & mindset change"). With this retro you can start promoting the right mindset - aka a growth mindset.

Note: This retrospective format asks for agreement with the given Health Check items on a scale.

Team Radar Tool Health Check Retrospective
  • Purpose: The results of my work are of great importance to our clients.
  • Personal development: I feel like I am improving myself every day at work.
  • Goals: My goals are aligned with the goals of my colleagues.

Retrospective Ideas

Health Check Retro: Psychological Safety👮🏼‍♀️

Since Project Aristotle is from Google Psychological safety is known to be closely correlated to team success. There are specific behaviors, behavioral anchors that will help you measure and discuss Psychological Safety in your team – have fun!

Note: This retrospective format asks for agreement with the given Health Check items on a scale.

Team Radar Tool Health Check Retrospective
  • If a team member makes a mistake, they are not judged for it.
  • You're allowed to not know things in our team.
  • In conflicts, we talk on a factual level, so that no one feels personally attacked or judged.
  • I regularly receive useful feedback on how good my performance is and how I can improve.

Agile Retrospective ideas

Health Check Retro: Team spirit 😇

Your team may seem to be satisfied – but what if you dive a little deeper and talk about some important details? This retro helps to shed a more objective light on team morale. So that you can create creative action items without much effort. You could say it is food for your team maturation process.

Note: This retrospective format asks for agreement with the given Health Check items on a scale.

Team Radar Tool Health Check Retrospective
  • Appreciation: My colleagues appreciate my contribution to the team.
  • Team Spirit: There is a trusting working atmosphere in our team.
  • Transparency: Everyone in my team knows who is currently working on what.
  • Recovery & Breaks: I have enough room for breaks in which I can draw new energy.
  • Meeting culture: Our meetings are well structured, yet leave room for creativity and new ideas.
  • Support: In my team, each team member passes on their individual knowledge and experience.

Agile Retrospective ideas

Health Check Retro: Kanban Method 📝

Next to Scrum, Kanban is one of the best-known and most effective agile frameworks. The implementation seems simple - but actually mastering the method is quite difficult. But it's worth it! In the Kanban health check retrospective you can reflect how good you actually are.

Note: This retrospective format asks for agreement with the given Health Check items on a scale.

Team Radar Tool Health Check Retrospective
  • Kanban Planning: Our team has a great predictability.
  • Kanban Process: Our Kanban board reflects the latest status of all our work.
  • Kanban Metrics: We inspect our flow metrics to identify room for improvement.
  • Improvement: In our team we implement meaningful continuous improvements.

Agile Retrospective ideas

Health Check Retro: Scrum Framework 🦾

Approximately 75% of IT teams use Scrum or a Scrum-inspired development process. But it is not that easy to implement the framework successfully (see Zombie Scrum). We don't want you to become Zombie's which is why we created the Scrum Health Check retrospective in the Our tool – have fun reflecting!

Note: This retrospective format asks for agreement with the given Health Check items on a scale.

Team Radar Tool Health Check Retrospective
  • Planning: Backlog refinement in our team is efficient and effective.
  • Customer orientation: The planning of our sprints is always based on achieving the greatest possible customer benefit in the given time.
  • Agile education: Team members, Product Owner and Scrum Master share the same understanding of their respective roles in the team.
  • Scrum Events: Lately, every Daily in our team has paid off.

Retrospective ideas agile: Let’s play games

Now you know some of the classic points for a retrospective meeting that may be the best agile retrospectives or at least the most common ones. Agile teams typically like to have a new​​ remote retrospective format regularly, different retrospective ideas to trigger new thoughts. You can find one or the other freshly developed retrospective question below. 

Everyone loves games. Why not use some retrospective scrum games to trigger interesting new thoughts in your team? Of course, you should make sure that everyone knows the games that our retrospective scrum games are based on.

Ideas for retrospective

Not satisfied with your velocity? The Mario Kart Retro 🚗

Racing is as unpredictable as today’s work. Use this fun scrum retrospective meeting template to analyze what lays ahead of you - in a Mario style!

As futurespective

  • What bananas on the track do we have to look out for?
  • What’s an upcoming shortcut we could take advantage of?
  • What powerup could we pick up to ensure our win?

As a retrospective

  • What shortcuts helped us win?
  • Which bananas did we slip on?
  • What was the powerup that gave us an edge?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: Which of the following characters from the Mario universe do you like the most? Position yourself on the Echometer whiteboard.
  • Meeting closing: If this retro had been a race track in Mario Kart, what would its name be?

Ideas for retrospective

Scared of all the challenges? The Pacman retro 🟡

Many of us have vivid memories of playing pacman. Let’s use it to trigger a new perspective on our teamwork:

  • What ghosts were hunting you in the last sprint?
  • What allowed us to turn from hunted to hunter?
  • What new tactics might lead us to winning in the future?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: If the last sprint had been a (computer) game, what would it have been called? Choose from the suggestions on the Echometer whiteboard.
  • Meeting closing: What did you learn in this retro?

Ideas for retrospective

Need to level up? The RPG retro👨🏼‍💻

Work often feels like a game: With every level (sprint), things get harder. But equally, the game character (our team) develops their strengths to rise up to the challenge.

  • What’s our superpower as a team?
  • What character class is the hero of the last sprint?
  • Looking at recent challenges: Which characteristics & skills should we level up as soon as possible?
  • What’s our next game milestone (e.g., villain to tackle)?
  • Optional: Who recently rolled a nat 20 and saved the team?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: Which of the following role-playing games and adventure movies is your favorite? Position yourself on the Echometer whiteboard.
  • Meeting closing: What role or perspective of a teammate would you like to have been in this retro?

Agile Retrospective Game | 2

Neeed more team spirit? Your team pet 🙉

Retro game on the online whiteboard

Duration: 10-15 minutes | Goal: getting to know each other, team spirit
Click on the screenshot for an overview of the retro game.

Idea: If your team would have a pet, which one would it be? Which name would you give it?

  1. The team can view a few different pets on a digital whiteboard. An image and a few facts about the animal is given.
  2. Timebox 5-10 minutes: Based on that information, the team is now supposed to choose one of these animals as their pet. Which one fits best to our team spirit, our ways of working etc.? Is it more important to us that it is an intelligent animal, or that it is fun to play with?
  3. What you might add: The team can choose how they approach this decision. Do you want a democratic vote? Does everyone first collect clear arguments on their own why they would go for a specific pet? Should only the two people decide with the relevant skill set: the ones that already have pets?
  4. [Optional step] timebox 5 minutes: Of course, you can also let the team give the pet a nice name that perfectly fits its wonderful character.
  5. Depending on the enthusiasm of the discussions, you might actually want to post an image of the pet with its name on your mutual team page. You have a mascot!

Agile Retrospective Games for distributed teams | 16

Your sprint is difficult to describe? Songs will help 🎹

Retro game on the online whiteboard

Duration: 5-15 minutes | Goal: set the stage
Click on the screenshot for an overview of the retro game.

Idea: If our last sprint would be a song, what would be the title? Let them choose from given songs or invent their own titles.

  1. You give the instructions.
  2. 1-2 minute timebox: Everyone chooses a song title from the given list of songs (see screenshot of the whiteboard) or takes a different one.
    Everyone is free to change the title of a song. For example, someone might change the title “Eye of the tiger” from Survivor to “Eye of the customer” (e.g., because they met the actual customer for the very first time).
  3. The person who was the first to make a decision begins to explain their choice and hands over to the next person until everyone gave feedback.
  • "Something Just Like This" by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay
  • I Took a Pill in Ibiza by Mike Posner
  • "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele
  • "The Twist" by Chubby Checker
  • "Yes Sir, I Can Boogie" by Baccarat
  • "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO
  • „Bad Romance“ by Lady Gaga
  • „Shape of You“ by Ed Sheeran
  • "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets
  • "Wind of Change" by Scorpions
  • "Silent Night" by Bing Crosby
  • "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas
  • "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson (featuring Bruno Mars)
  • „Call Me Maybe“ by Carly Rae Jepsen
  • "Time to Say Goodbye" by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman
  • "I Don't Care" by Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber
  • Your favorite songs...

Ideas retrospective

Looking for the missing piece? The tetris retro 👾

Tetris is a fun computer game with the goal to puzzle under pressure. Sounds like work? Well, it kind of is.

  • Which piece fit perfectly into the puzzle in the last sprint?
  • Which piece did not fit at all?
  • How many uncleared rows have already accumulated?
  • When was the last time we cleared multiple rows at once?
  • What new piece could we invent to fill a gap we have right now?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: If you could change one building block of your work, what would it be?
  • Meeting closing: What's your favorite quote from this retro?

If these retrospective ideas don't fit into your team Tetris puzzle, then I have a few more pieces for you.

Retrospective methods for the 4 seasons

Sometimes it's scalding hot outside, or bitterly cold. This inevitably changes the atmosphere in which one works. The most beautiful are the retrospectives that match the mood of the year. That's why we have developed retrospective methods for the 4 seasons especially for you.

Retrospectives for the summer

Format for retrospective

Too hot in the office? The Summer retro ⛱☀️

In the best case, your team scrum sprint feels like how you imagine summer. A positive vibe everywhere, everything is working smoothly. Although there are some things that make you sweat. This template for retrospective meeting is the right one for the summer: 

  • What was the ice cream, your favorite moment?
  • What made you sweat?
  • What could be a treat to cope with the summer heat in the future?

Ideas retrospective

Everyone on vacation? The Vacation retro 🏖🗺

Many of your colleagues were or will be on vacation? Then a retrospective question in this regard might be the right fit. Because even leisure time can be stressful. Let’s view our last sprint like vacation time…

  • Which positive memory of your vacation will stay with you?
  • What part of our vacation plan turned out to be the biggest disappointment?
  • Which things did we forget to pack for our vacation?
  • What learnings will we take into the next vacation planning?

Retrospective format scrum

Not in the flow? The Surfer’s retro 🏄🏽‍♀️ 🌊

Salty water, sun, waiting for the next wave. Surfing can be a lot of fun and look so effortless. How did your team catch the last wave? Are you prepared to catch the next one and ride it all the way to the beach?

  • What made you fall?
  • When have you been able to show your skills?
  • What keeps you balanced?
  • How can you maximize the chances to catch the next wave even better?

Retrospective format scrum

Difficult path ahead of you? The Road Trip Retro 🛣

A road trip to… well, to the destination. The most important thing is that you arrive. Right? Is it all about the goal, or isn't the journey somehow the goal? Reflect on your last stage or sprint with the agile Road Trip Retrospective.

  • What superfluous luggage do we have with us?
  • What is the mood of the music playing in the background of our vehicle?
  • When did we (almost) have a flat tire?
  • Which destination are we particularly looking forward to?

Retrospective format scrum

Missing a crucial ingredient? The Barbecue Retro 🍗

Barbecuing outside in the fresh air – is how you imagine summer to be. But creating the perfect barbecue experience takes a lot. If your team enjoys a good barbecue, the following questions will trigger your creative juices.

  • What is our secret sauce that makes everything better?
  • Where have we burned our fingers?
  • What side dishes are we still missing for our barbecue feast?

Fall Retrospectives

Retrospective idea 5

Times have changed? The autumn Retro 🍁

After summer inevitably comes autumn. A time of change, but also of new beginnings and gratitude. It's best to make sure you're prepared for all eventualities early on.

  • 🌧🍂 On which slippery wet paths did we (almost) slip?
  • 🌧🌈 What has been your rainbow moment (favorite moment of the sprint)?
  • 🥜🐿 What do we need to prepare to get well through the winter? (Like squirrels prepare nuts for winter)

Ideas retrospective

Lack of creative will? The Farming Retrospective 👩🏻‍🌾

"Dumb people run, smart people wait, wise people go to the garden" - this is how various writers have put it. Tilling a garden is a complex matter. Pruning the shoots at the right time, planting seeds, harvesting roots is an art. Much like successful teamwork.

  • 🌱 What seeds were sown? (new started topics)
  • 🌾 What has already been harvested? (milestones or goals already achieved)
  • 🐞 Which bugs did we have to be careful of? (potential hazards)
  • 🌪 How has the weather affected our harvest?🌪 (external factors that are not under our control)

Ideas retrospective

Want to bloom? The "Rose, Bud, Thorne" Retrospective 🌹

You can't look at things one-dimensionally. This is nicely illustrated by the example of the rose: It may look beautiful, but it can also hurt quite a bit. The perfect sprint increment also creates a balance between requirements and possibilities.

  • Rose: What are positive results and achievements? 🥀
  • Bud: What are things that are waiting to blossom? 🌼
  • Thorns: What are challenges that (might) cause us pain? 🌵

Retrospectives for the winter

Retrospective idea 5

Team is behaving too cold? The Winter Retro 🥶

Winter can be a long, hard, cold time. Or it can be a time of coziness and winter sports. So it offers a lot of potential for creative questions that help you reflect on your agile sprint.

  • Snow: What have we almost forgotten under the snow blanket?
  • Ice: Where do we have to be careful not to slip?
  • Stove: What warms us up?
  • Anticipation: What can we hardly wait for?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: What is your favorite season and why? Position yourself on the Echometer whiteboard.
  • Meeting closing: If you could remind yourself on anything from this retro in a week, what would it be?

Ideas retrospective

The situation seems unstable? The Snowman Retro ☃️

It can be quite tedious to build a snowman iteratively, step by step, ball by ball, sprint by sprint. And then there's not even any guarantee that it will actually hold together. Let alone whether it looks as friendly as we imagined.

  • Lower ball: What is the base on which we can build?
  • Middle ball: What holds us together?
  • Head: In which direction do we want to look? What do we want to keep in mind?
  • Hat: What nice-to-haves would be great?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: What is your favorite season and why? Position yourself on the Echometer whiteboard.
  • Meeting closing: Who gave the best quote in this retro? Which one?

Ideas retrospective

On a wild ride? The Sleigh retro 🛷

Sledding is a lot of fun... as long as you're fit, can see enough, know the track and the sled holds up. Do you feel like your last few sprints have pretty much zig-zagged? Then the agile Sleigh Retrospective might be something for you.

  • Ascent: Where was it worth pulling up the sleigh?
  • Elevator: When would we have liked to have had a lift for support?
  • Sledding: Which sleigh ride was the most fun?
  • Obstacle: Where did we have to be careful not to fall over?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: What is your favorite season and why? Position yourself on the Echometer whiteboard.
  • Meeting closing: Which of the action items from this retro do you like the most?

Spring Retrospectives

Ideas retrospective

Mixed perceptions? The Rose-colored Glasses Retro 🤓

In spring, everything is suddenly so beautiful again, so fresh. Apparently, the perception changes, you fall in love with everything anew. It's like putting on rose-colored glasses. But what if you put on other glasses as well?

  • Let's take off our rose-colored glasses: Where should we face the facts? 🤕
  • Even without rose-colored glasses: What went well? 💖
  • This time, sunglasses are necessary: Where could we use a clearer view? 😎

Retrospective idea 5

The Hot Air Balloon Retrospective 🎈

The Hot Air Balloon Retrospective is one of the creative classics in the agile retrospective kit. It fits well in spring, when you can fly a balloon again for the first time – but obviously also in other seasons. 

  • Sunny skies: What positive things can we be happy about? ☀️
  • Sandbags: What slows us down? ⚖️
  • Hot air: What drives us? 💭
  • Storm clouds: What challenges and dangers are lurking us? 🌪

Online retrospective scrum

Nothing seems at its place? The Spring Cleaning retro 🌼

Quarterly retrospective idea, Project Milestone, Release retrospective Scrum: With Marie Kondō, we didn't just start cleaning our living room and kitchen. We are even taking her to our workplace to bring order to chaos.

  • What sparkles joy, which item should we keep?
  • What can we throw in the bin?
  • What can we recycle and use again - maybe this time for a different challenge?

Retrospective ideas agile: Reflecting the last weeks

Once again, recommended: Feel free to change the remote retrospective format, leave some of the questions out and adapt them to your specific needs and context! The more the virtual agile retrospective ideas fit your context, the better.

Ideas retrospective

Wrong team lineup? The soccer retro ⚽️

Good teamwork is important in soccer. The right people have to be on the field. And yet sometimes you just have a bad day. If your team has some soccer fans, then this agile sprint retrospective will fit.

  • One-two: Where did we play particularly well together?
  • Free kick: What chances did we have?
  • Foul play: When did we break the rules?
  • Goal: Where did we hit the bull's eye?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: What was your favorite game or activity as a kid? Write it on the Echometer whiteboard.
  • Meeting Closure: On a scale from "defense, midfield to offense", where do you position this retro? Position yourself on the Echometer whiteboard.

Ideas retrospective

Need a fresh start? The Escape Room Retro 🕵🏼

Escape rooms have just the right balance of "pressure" and "fun", like a good retrospective. If the team feels like it's kind of stuck, it's worth trying to break out of your situation. Similar to an Escape Game.

  • What puzzles do we still have to solve?
  • Where are we running out of time?
  • Where could communication in the team have been better?
  • Which challenge did we master pretty well?

 

Check-In & Check-Out (optional):

  • Icebreaker: Have you ever done an Escape Room before? If so, what was your highlight?
  • Meeting closure: What mini-mystery were you able to solve for yourself in this retro?

Ideas retrospective

Would you like 7 new perspectives? The 7 Dwarfs Retro ⛏

This has nothing to do with the fairy tale of the Seven Dwarfs, but the results can still be fabulously good: Each team member takes 7 different perspectives and is thus virtually forced to empathize: Because each of the 7 dwarfs has an emotional slant from which they view the status quo (e.g. the last Scrum Sprint):

  • Joy: Why is the joyful dwarf joyful considering our situation?
  • Anger: Why is the angry dwarf angry considering our situation?
  • Sadness: Why is the sad dwarf sad considering our situation?
  • Surprise: Why is the surprised dwarf surprised considering our situation?
  • Fear: Why is the fearful dwarf afraid, given our situation?
  • Compassion: Given our situation, why does the compassionate dwarf have compassion?
  • Optimism: Given our situation, why is the optimistic dwarf optimistic?

Ideas retrospective

Work feels like theater? The Theater retro 🎭

Sometimes, work is like theater. There is so much drama involved, people play a role instead of being themselves. Let’s view work from a theater perspective by starting with this retrospective question:

  • Who was the (tragic?) hero in the last sprint and why?
  • At which point of the storyline did you get lost?
  • In which situation did you have stage fright?
  • Where would a prompter have been helpful?
  • Which role would you like to play in the future?

Ideas retrospective

Not sure if you are sick? The Doctor’s retro 👩🏽‍⚕️🩺

Everyone has to go to a doctor at some time for a health check. Doesn't matter if you are sick or not. In this template for a retrospective meeting, we imagine our last sprint is a doctor’s patient. By the way: If you are looking for a classical team health check including agile metrics and radar chart, I recommend checking out our 'team health check kit.

  • What kind of visit is this: Is the sprint sick or is this just a routine check?
  • What are the patients' obvious symptoms?
  • Which medications did the patients try in the past?
  • What are possible root causes for each symptom?

Questions for retrospective scrum

Team out of rhythm? The band Retro 🎸

A great team is like a band – perfectly in tune, in rhythm, knowing exactly what the audience loves. Let's say you practiced a certain piece of music in the last sprint.

  • When have you been out of rhythm in the last sprint?
  • What was your favorite moment so far?
  • What is the tuning of the song - minor or major, positive or negative?
  • How could we improve the sense of rhythm within the band?

Questions for retrospective scrum

Having a creative breakdown? The Writer’s retro 📜 🖊

Writing requires creativity, patience and many feedback loops until the masterpiece is finished. Let’s use one feedback loop, your sprint, and have a look at the progress of your project by starting with this retrospective question:

  • What is the common thread we should never forget?
  • What has blocked us from writing?
  • Where do you want to have your lecturer's opinion?
  • Which passage did you really like and why?

Format for retrospective

Don’t like what the team served? The Chef’s retro 👨🏾‍🍳 🍳

Are you professionals? A chef's restaurant is smoothly working like a machine. Every dish is perfectly served, with perfect timing and a fresh taste. Do your retro like a chef de cuisine - yummie:

  • What special spices added a positive taste to our last sprint? 
  • Which were the missing ingredients that we had to subsidize?
  • When did the kitchen team ignore the instructions of their omnipotent chef?

Fun retrospective scrum

Fires everywhere? The Firefighter’s retro👨🏽‍🚒🚒

The last thing you want is to put out unforeseen flames at work and be pulled away from your core tasks. But it still happens regularly. Let's prevent it by starting with this retrospective question:

  • When have we been able to make use of our powerful equipment to solve the daily struggles of the citizens we serve?
  • What was the biggest emergency in your last sprint?
  • Which preventive measures can we implement to have less emergencies in the future?

Fun retrospective scrum

Too much drama? The Book’s retro 📖

If your last scrum sprint was a book: did you enjoy reading it?

  • If the last sprint was a book, which genre was it?
  • What were the happiest moments of our protagonist?
  • What made your book dramatic?
  • What is necessary for the positive plot-twist you desperately wish for?

Questions for retrospective scrum

Too many things to cope with? The President’s retro🤴🏽

A president has to deal with quite some challenges, always keep calm and have the visionary future in mind. Let’s get into the “Yes, we can” mindset.

  • Yes, we can: What did we do very well in the last weeks?
  • Which lobby, external factors negatively influenced us?
  • Which scandals did we have to cope with?
  • What should we try out in the next term?

Ideas for retrospective meeting

Need some energy? The atomic retro ☢️

You can create incredible energies through nuclear power. But it is a fragile process. Let’s make sure we keep it under control and deliver the positive green energy we are aiming for. If we look at our last sprint as if it were such a fragile process, what do we find?

  • What are our fuel rods, what gives energy?
  • What were our control rods, what slowed our process down?
  • How heated did the surrounding coolant become? Was there a critical moment?
  • What can we do to harvest as much energy as possible – without causing a meltdown?

Scrum retrospective activities

Wish you could go back? The Time Travel retro🕰

Probably everyone has dreamed of traveling back in time, either to meet an interesting historic personality - or to change history. Let’s change our last sprint - at least in theory - with this scrum retrospective meeting template:

  • To which point in time (of your sprint) would you travel back to prevent a recent setback or failure of your team?
  • To which point in time (of your sprint) would you travel back to experience it again, because it simply felt good?
  • To which point in time in the future would you travel to learn something we don’t know yet? 
  • What did we do differently to get to that point?

Alright, did you come back to the future? I mean, into the present? Hopefully, some of these retrospective meeting techniques triggered some visionary thoughts. Now let’s dive into some formats that will help to reflect on a different level.

Retrospective ideas agile: Zooming out & Milestones

The sprint retrospective formats we just gave you are all focused on facilitating retros about the last scrum sprint. But how about quarterly retrospective ideas or a release retrospective meeting?

Or how about interesting retrospective ideas for new agile teams? In short, formats that will help you reflect on a bigger picture level, for example after a 3 to 6 month project milestone. There are so many different use cases (I did not even mention the retrospective meeting in testing).

Don’t worry. We prepared some retrospective meeting notes and agile retrospective exercises for these use cases. We recommend adopting these virtual agile retrospective ideas so that they fit your circumstances.

Scrum retrospective activities

Having some turbulence? The Pilot retro 🧑🏿‍✈️🛫

Project Kick-Off: We are all pilots on a journey. Each sprint is the next flight. We are specialists, highly qualified for our job. Let’s make sure we land safely by starting with this retrospective question:

  • What’s our travel destiny (our most important short term goal)?
  • What is our entertainment program (things that give us joy and energy)?
  • What turbulence has there been lately (things that did not go so well)?
  • What are our safety measures that we should check regularly (e.g., things we are good at)?

Sprint retrospective ideas for distributed team

Don’t know anyone? The First Date retro👩‍❤️‍👨

Project Kick-Off, team building: Looking for interesting retrospective ideas for new agile teams? This one is the right one for you. In the beginning of a team’s life cycle, everything is so new and there are so many thoughts running through our head, emotions running through our body. Let’s try to structure them and see what we can make of them.

  • What would make you fall in love with your team? 
  • What are common values that you are searching for?
  • What would be red flags that are bad signals for a healthy relationship?
  • What would the dream future look like?

Online retrospective scrum

On a long journey? The Marathon Retro 🏃‍♂️

Quarterly retrospective idea, Project Milestone, Project ending, Release retrospective format: Sometimes, work is like a marathon. You did not train for the bad weather and the goal still feels far away. Use this retrospective meeting format in case you are on a long journey:

  • What has been the most important preparation for the race day?
  • What did we fail to prepare for, leading to some challenges?
  • Which competitors can use for orientation?
  • What’s our banana station, giving us new energy?

Retrospective scrum online

Working on a masterpiece? The Michelangelo retro 🧑🏾‍🎨 🖼

Quarterly retrospective idea, Project Milestone, Release retrospective Scrum: Michelangelo was a great artist, known for his beautiful paintings. You as a team are basically drawing a picture as well. How do you make sure your work will be a masterpiece?

  • What is the big picture we are working on?
  • Which details should we focus on in the next weeks?
  • Where do we have difficulties finding the right color?
  • Which new brush should we use, which new approaches should we try out in the next few weeks?

All right, Michelangelo. Did you have a good release retrospective meeting? Or a juicy retrospective meeting in testing? Anyway, I hope you are happy with your artwork.

Retrospective ideas agile: Conclusion

Once again, what should a retrospective include? It should include the 5 phases I mentioned above - best case with a creative and interesting retrospective idea. We hope that you will try out some of the mentioned agile team retrospective ideas. Once again: If you are searching for a sprint retrospective template ppt (i.e., powerpoint), feel free to copy every retrospective question into powerpoint. 

You should have also learned how to conduct a retrospective meeting online, how to start a retrospective meeting, the typical scrum retrospective duration and the best agile retrospectives: the scrum retrospective start stop keep (aka “start stop continue”), the retrospective liked learned lacked (aka “retro liked learned lacked longed for” or 4l retrospective), the scrum retrospective with 3 questions, the sailboat retro and the mad sad glad retro.

Retrospective scrum meeting: Some last hints

As we do not yet have 40 retrospective ideas: if you have any agile team retrospective ideas to add or want to give us feedback after going through all these agile retrospective exercises - just write to usIn case you are generally new to retrospectives (a beginner Scrum Master or Agile Coach), I highly recommend having a look at our free eBook: 20+ tips for really successful retrospectives

And in case you are looking for a “retrospective meeting online tool free” then you might have seen that Echometer is exactly that. Have fun trying out all the different fun retrospective meeting ideas in our tool 😄

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Try the Spotify Health Check Retrospective!

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

Sounds interesting? Try the format in our retro tool: