The retrospective is the most important event within the Scrum framework. Why is this? The whole Scrum idea is based on inspect-and-adapt cycles. The retrospective it the event where the just finished sprint is reviewed team internally to get insights on where the problems are and how to improve the process for the next sprint (see the links below for a Scrum introduction). Without the retrospective the inspect-and-adapt cycle would simply not work.
But retrospectives are not limited to the Scrum framework, they should be part of every agile method. Even outside agile methods retrospectives can be used to review all kind of milestones / projects etc. So if you are not yet familiar with the methodology, you should definitely take a look.
In the last couple years I did lots of retrospectives with the teams I worked with. Usually I prepared the methods I used in the retrospectives according to the classical 5 step schema:
- Set the Stage
- Gather Data
- Generate Insights
- Decide What to Do
- Close the Retrospective
Over time I collected methods for the steps from different sources in my own private toolbox. Some tools out there are exceptionally helpful like the Retromat – if you don’t know it yet, take a look! It makes your (Scrum Master) life so much easier. But still with all the methods from my toolbox and the web I was not happy with the preparation process itself.
I ended up writing sticky notes for each step which was ok, but also got me in some trouble by mixing them up 🙂 What I came up with is a simple template which I usually print out and fill in manually with a pen in the preparation phase. Especially when you know that a “hard” retrospective is coming up I like the manual editing process, where the template iterates over time.
In the end you can simply archive the sheet for later reference to build up a database of retrospective outlines. I included a rating so you can also evaluate for yourself how well it went on the overall retrospective and for the single methods used. This can be a valuable tool over time which kind of preserves your experience.
Please feel free to download, use and modify the template. If you modify it please also share it back and let me know. I release the template under MIT License which means if you use (and modify) it as you like. So please go ahead. Happy retros!
You can find the template here as free PDF and Word files: https://github.com/snoopyart/scrum-retrospective-template
Overview of the Scrum Framework – https://www.scrumalliance.org/employer-resources/overview-of-the-scrum-framework
Scrum in a Nutshell – http://media.agile42.com/content/Scrum_in_a_nutshell.pdf
Retromat Tool for retrospective methods – http://plans-for-retrospectives.com/
This post was first published on ScrumAlliance.org (https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/articles/2016/october/a-template-for-easy-scrum-retrospective-preparatio).