Sprint is a timeline set to deliver small projects by the scrum team. It is part of the scrum process that involves daily scrum, sprint review and retrospective, and sprint planning involving product and sprint backlog.

What Is a Sprint Retrospective?

The work completed in dedicated time is a sprint, and the inspection of its quality is sprint retrospective. It does not focus on only one aspect but on overall functionality, the scope of improvement, and other related factors such as tools, interactions, and processes. The mentioned actions are achieved by bringing together the scrum team to reflect on their actions.

What Is a Sprint Retrospective Meeting?

Based on the scrum framework, sprint retrospective lies between sprint planning and sprint review. It gathers the scrum team for approximately three-hour meetings for a month-long sprint. The meeting highlights the successes and failures in the previous Sprint. Also, it focuses on possible improvement options for the next Sprint. It ensures the participation and actions of each member and leader involving the scrum master, product owner, and sometimes stakeholders.

The sole aim is to increase the success rate of the next Sprint, which requires sprint data with proper preparation. The insights can be inspected and reflected through various tools, followed by agreement on a common optimization idea.

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What Is the Purpose of a Sprint Retrospective?

The sprint retrospective meeting aims to inspect the overall quality of the Sprint, including correct proceedings to repeat them and to understand the faults, their root cause, and the accountable people. Further, it serves the purpose of devising improvement methods and planning the executable actions and environment to incorporate improvement methods in the scrum team. The mentioned purposes are discussed in detail:

To Identify What Went Wrong

It can incorporate questions like what issue, in general, did the team face? Why could the team not meet crucial deadlines despite the facilities' availability? Did external factors play a role in setting back the progress? If yes, what were they? Understanding the root cause and listening to the accountable person allows one to reflect and optimize the problematic areas.

To Identify What Went Right

It includes acknowledging and appreciating the employee's talent, skill, and hard and smart work that led to unexpected success. It is also a part of Scrum values, and it boosts employees' morale, encouraging them to give their best.

To Identify What Can Be Improved

Knowing the problems isn't enough. The next step is to find ways to avoid them in the future. It also involves ensuring that the same problem doesn't occur again. To combat these problems, specific methods should be designed by the collective opinions of involved individuals.

To Nurture a Positive Culture and Environment

This point suggests incorporating Sprint retrospective games to increase communication and create a positive environment during the meeting. The key is to encourage the active participation of each member in the meeting.

Who Runs a Sprint Retrospective Meeting?

The meeting is led by Scrum Master, who oversees the proceedings, encourages the participation of members, and makes the meeting worthwhile by discussing quality content and increasing members' interest. Utilizing their ideas and expertise, he ensures discussion on workflow improvement. The members of the sprint retrospective meeting are the Scrum master themselves, product owners, and all the developers, testers, innovators, and builders of the product. Participation of stakeholders and managers is optional in sprint retrospective meetings but compulsory in sprint reviews.

Steps for Conducting Sprint Retrospective Meeting

The most common approach followed in sprint retrospective meetings includes the start-stop-continue approach. It involves employees' perspective on encompassing new things, removing odd practices, and continuity of which are perfect methods. Apart from this, the following points should be considered while conducting the sprint retrospective meeting.

Agenda

It is important to prepare and analyze before going into the meeting. Solely relying on memory won't help. Therefore, the agenda should include setting the goal, gathering data, insight development, decision, and closure. Here are the significant points of the agenda:

Setting the Goal

It is crucial to set the objective of the meeting. Only analysis of scrum can lead to this step. Common objectives examples can require detailed communication with stakeholders or product owners, issues encountered in product backlog reviews, or daily scrum meetings.

Gathering Essential Data

The objective should be backed by evidence. It can involve problems encountered or results directly indicating the required improvement that justifies the chosen objective.

Developing Insights

Huge data or numbers can not be used to derive conclusions in short meetings. It is important to structure the data and show patterns with correct results indicating the dire need to change or improve the specified process.

Deciding on the Next Steps

After identifying issues, suggest ideas for improvement and welcome participating members' opinions. Encourage them to come up with new ideas against the problem.

Closing the Retrospective

Summarising the sprint retrospective meeting with clear points. The ending should not be confusing about what and how will the new method be implemented and executed. A clear well-devised method should be stated with clearance of doubts if any.

Length

The meeting length depends on various factors like the number of members involved, the method of presentation, the mode of participation of members, their interaction, and expertise level. The most crucial time-determining factor is the length of the Sprint, with the meeting duration directly proportional to the sprint duration.

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Questions to Ask After a Sprint Retrospective

Sprint retrospective meetings are solely designed to conclude with answers to these questions.

1. What went well in the Sprint?

It intakes answers in processes, different actions, new tools and skills, training, and the people who gave their best to give the results. It also reflects the motivation of the team, the strengths of members and the team as a whole, and any special or minute points that contributed to the success.

2. What went wrong in the Sprint?

To incorporate the improvements, there must be a base. This question finds the root for improvement by finding the mishappenings. It can do so by looking for things and actions with wrong consequences. Also, reflect on whether it was supposed to end in such a way and whether the actions were deliberate or by chance.

3. What we learned in the Sprint?

Irrespective of the complexity and size of the Sprint, there is something to learn. The deep analysis will reveal the answer to learning, which can be utilized further. It can involve the significance of techniques, methodologies, things that ease the task, and the ones that made it difficult or required more time than usual.

4. What should we do differently in the next Sprint?

The plan and ideas developed to implement for the next Sprint will be the answer to actions to be taken in the next Sprint. It also involves merging the strengths and skills with the not-so-useful but important techniques.

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Conclusion

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FAQs 

1. What's the difference between a sprint retrospective and a sprint review?

Sprint review is product-centric, involving stakeholders, managers, and the scrum team. But sprint retrospective analyses the processes followed in product development to optimize their functioning and next product development.

2. Who should attend the sprint retrospective?

Sprint retrospective meetings should be led by Scrum Master and attended with active participation by other employees. Specifically, these employees are the scrum team, including developers, builders and testers, and product owners.

3. When is a sprint retrospective meeting held?

A sprint retrospective meeting is held before sprint planning for the next Sprint. It ensures the incorporation of ideas and plans devised in this meeting to optimize the process. The meeting takes place after the sprint review to have an overall view concerning the positive and negative consequences of actions on the product and overall performance.

About the Author

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Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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