What is a Sprint Retrospective? Ultimate Guide

Your team goes through a lot of sprints, even if you’ve never really thought of them that way. In fact, these sprints are what happens every time you realize you need to get something done and you make a big push to get it there.

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When you sit down and you tell your team you need to get a certain task or portion of a project done in a short amount of time and everyone pushes through that’s a sprint, and it’s an important part of the process for your business.

What is a Sprint?

When you go through a sprint you are trying to get a task or portion of a project done and you want to do it quickly. But you also want to make sure that you’re doing it right. You may spend a very short amount of time on a sprint if it’s based around a short task, such as a few hours. Or you might spend several days or even a week on a longer sprint. It all depends on just what you’re trying to accomplish and how big of a task it actually is.

The key is that the sprint takes priority over everything else. You don’t work on other projects or other tasks within the project when you’re working on the sprint. You only work on that one task or series. This helps you focus all of your attention and willpower and all of your team members on that one thing, which is how it gets done a whole lot faster and also makes sure that you have less mistakes because there are more eyes on that particular task or project.

Once you’ve set up a sprint it’s important for everyone to know who is involved with it, what is being done, what is being ignored and how long they have to get the task done. Once everyone is clear on each of these things it becomes a whole lot easier to take care of things and make sure the sprint is being carried out properly. That’s the whole point after all and it’s going to take everyone on your team to make sure that it happens. But they don’t always go as well as you might have hoped.

What is a Sprint Retrospective?

When it comes to your sprint there are going to be times when your sprint goes great and times when it doesn’t. No matter if it excels or it fails, you need to have a sprint retrospective to sit down with your team and find out more about the process and how it did go. You need to break things down, hash it out or whatever you want to call it in order to understand what you should be doing the same or different the next time around. If you don’t have a retrospective you’re not going to really know what happened with the sprint.

Your retrospective means that all of the people who were involved in the sprint will get together and have a meeting. This can feel a little overwhelming, especially if you work with a team that already has a lot of meetings, but this one is extremely important. It’s going to be instrumental to the success of your process and your business as a whole, so make sure that you’re scheduling at least a short retrospective meeting after each of your sprints. You might be surprised at just how well they help.

You’ll want to take inventory of how the sprint went. Did it actually work? Did you get the tasks you needed done in the time that you had allotted for the sprint? Did you get most of the tasks done in the time allotted? Did you struggle to get anything done in the time allotted? Once you know this you’ll be able to take a look at just what went right and what went wrong about the specific sprint you were working on and that’s important.

What went right. First, look for everything that went right on your sprint. Even if you think the sprint failed entirely there has to be at least something that went well. So, take a few minutes and figure it out. Talk it over with everyone on the team and see what they think went right. It could be something as simple as everyone worked on the project or you were all in communication with each other the entire time. Or maybe you think that the sprint went amazingly well and your ‘things that went right’ list is going to be exceedingly long. That’s great too. Write it all down and hash it out with the team.

What went wrong. This may be easier for you to do if you feel like the entire sprint didn’t go the way you wanted it to or if you think that you had a complete failure. Write out all of the things that went wrong on your sprint. If you think your sprint was an overwhelming success you might have a hard time with this section but there are always things that don’t go right. Even if it was just something that didn’t go perfectly or the ideal way you wanted it to you can count that as something that went wrong.

What would you do differently? The next thing you need to go through is how you would do things different the next time. Look at all of those things that you feel went wrong and try to figure out ways that you could turn those around and make them better. What could you do to improve the situation and make sure that you didn’t have those same failures or problems the next time? What would mitigate or even eliminate those things? It could be more communication, better time management, more team members or anything at all but come up with some ideas as a team.

What would you improve? You should also be taking a closer look at the things that went right and figuring out ways that you could improve those as well. It’s not just about fixing the things that went wrong. You should also make sure that you are improving the things that went right. Always be looking for ways to make things better, more efficient, faster or anything else to help improve your team and the way that you work together. This may not seem like as important of a step but it most definitely is.

Make a plan. Once you’ve figured out what you did right and what you did not-so-well it’s time to make a plan for the next time around. You’re going to work on sprints again, so make sure you’re doing things the right way and that you’re taking into account everything that you learned from your last sprint. You can put together a plan for what you want to do the next time to make sure that it’s going to work even better. After all, that’s the whole point of sprints is to get a whole lot done and to get it done right.

Repeat every time. After every sprint that you do you need to make sure that you’re doing one of these retrospectives. You might think after the first few that you’ve got everything worked out and you don’t need to do these anymore. But that’s definitely not the case. You should absolutely be repeating the sprint retrospective every time that you have a sprint. And whether it’s a short meeting or a long one, you’ll find that it makes a huge difference in the way that you perform the next time around, and that’s what you’re trying to achieve.

How to Have a Meeting

Make sure that everyone that is part of the Scrum is there, at the meeting. This includes the Scrum master and the product owner. This will make sure that everyone who was involved has a chance to say something, and those individuals should all be invited to speak. In fact, you want to make sure that each person who was a part of the process is able to talk about what they feel was good or not-so-good and what suggestions they have for the next time you carry out a sprint.

Your meeting should go over all of the different aspects that we discussed above and you absolutely want to make sure that you are following along with the rules you already have in place for any other meetings. These should be things like everyone gets a turn to talk and no interrupting each other. You also need to consider and evaluate each idea or thought that is presented to the group as these are all going to be extremely important in getting your team to achieve even more and do even better the next time around.

First, set the stage of what you want to talk about and how you’re going to do it. Give all of your team members an open space that they can feel comfortable sharing and stepping up whenever they need to. Make sure that everyone knows how the meeting is going to go and feels comfortable going through those meeting guidelines. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re actually getting all of the information from those team members so you know what the important data is.

You’ll need to go through the process of figuring out what went well and what didn’t by working with each of your team members to go over the different tasks. You’ll want to figure out what worked and why and what didn’t work and why it didn’t. Then, make sure that you go over what to do next and create the right type of action points that you can use as you move forward and work on your system of tasks and projects. You want to create actionable and small tasks and activities that will help your team to accomplish the tasks that you need.

Finally, you need to wrap up your meeting by going over all of the different things that you’ve discussed. Make a plan for everything that needs to be done and make sure that you are prepared for the next sprint that you’re going to do. You’ll want to sum up what you went through in the meeting and you’ll want to make sure that you talk with your team about how well the meeting itself went. This is also an important part of the process and it’s going to help you run more effective and efficient meetings in the future.

What You Need Most

When it comes to taking care of your team and making sure that you’re working through your projects in the right way it’s important to know what you’re doing. With this process of sprint retrospectives you’re going to find your sprints even more effective, and more than that you’re going to find that you get the rest of your projects taken care of much better as well. And your entire team is going to appreciate that.

Take some time to learn how to carry out sprints properly and then make sure that you’re carrying out your retrospectives every time. You’ll be more than happy with the end result and so will your team and your clients. After all, they’re going to reap all of the benefits associated with your improved process. And that means that your business is going to improve all around. It just takes a little bit of time and focus to get there.

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