What is an Agile Sprint Retrospective ?

At the end of the sprint review, before planning the next sprint, the team meets to review its own processes and methods. The Sprint Retrospective is inward looking (Martin, 2014). The Sprint Retrospective is time-boxed to 3-hours. The Scrum Team, the Scrum Master and optionally the Product Owner attends the meeting. The Sprint Retrospective is intended to answer two fundamental questions:

  • What we should continue to do
  • What we should stop doing
Sprint retrospective

Figure 1.1 : Sprint Retrospective. Martin, 2014. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1v2LVh4

Managers and observers may not attend. It is reflective, looks inward and is intended to be honest so that process improvements result(Martin, 2014).The meeting is usually facilitated by the Scrum Master who will also take notes. The meeting must end with a list of action items that have been agreed upon and that will be implemented. Those changes may be added to the Product Backlog. (Babinet &  Ramanathan, 2008).

The Sprint Retrospective meeting has following key practices(Google sites(2012)) :

Key Practices

  • Meeting Customer satisfaction: The Sprint Retrospective can be used to reflect on how well the Scrum Team is addressing the customer satisfaction
  • Understanding Changing requirements: The Sprint Retrospective is a good place to assess if the Product Backlog is evolving and therefore the Scrum Team and Product Owner are flexible enough
  • Delivering working software regularly: The result and feedback received during the Sprint Review can be analyzed during the Sprint Retrospective to assess this element. The problems associated with the element can be resolved at this point.(Ambler & Holitza (2012))
  • Working with each other: Business and technical people should work together in order to achieve great results. Reflection on how well the business and technical people are working together is a good activity to ensure that the environment fosters communication between those two groups
  • Giving support and trust: Scrum Team can self-assess and also assess if management has provided an appropriate infrastructure
  • Involving in face-to-face conversation: The quality and frequency of the face-to-face conversation is a point that can be analyzed during a Sprint Review 
  • Delivering working software: Assessing the quality of the key deliverable to date is of essential value
  • Having a sustainable structure: Signs that could conclude that the project is not sustainable must be discussed
  • Technical excellence:  Quality is a non-negotiable aspect of Scrum and should be reviewed during the Sprint Retrospective
 Figure 1.2 : Sample Retrospective

Figure 1.2 : Sample Retrospective . Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1rKzVlN

  • Keeping the system simple: Signs of an unnecessary complex system should be discussed. Efforts should be made to keep things as simple as possible
  • Working in self-organizing team: Scrum Team should be self-managed. Any evidences that Scrum Team is hindered because not self-managed should be analyzed
  • Regular reflection: The Scrum Retrospective is a regular reflection activity. Hence, this will always be true.Google sites(2012)


 Martin (2014)(White Paper). A Quick Primer on Agility and Scrum. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1v2LVh4

Babinet &  Ramanathan(2008). Dependency Management in Large Agile Environment. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1rKzVlN

Ambler & Holitza (2012). Agile For Dummies®, IBM Limited Edition.  Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Google sites(2012). Scrum Project Management. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1CxtvyY


2 thoughts on “What is an Agile Sprint Retrospective ?

  1. This blog on Agile Sprint Retrospective is very informative and has covered all the main topics.The key practices of the agile sprint retrospective helps the reader to get an in depth understanding of the sprint reviews and how useful it is in organizations.The pictures in your blog looks clear and they can be easily followed by newbies.Good that you incorporated the sample retrospective in your blog.Thanks for sharing such a nice article.Good job !


  2. I like how the important terms are in boldface so that the reader knows what to pay attention to in this entry. Citations are also cited well throughout. I also like how bullet points were used to explain the key practices of sprint retrospective. This makes it easier to remember what the key practices are since they would otherwise be listed in a big paragraph and perhaps not be as easy to remember. The choices of pictures to illustrate the concepts are also excellent.


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