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What is a Scrum Retrospective

what-is-a-scrum-retrospectiveA retrospective meeting is an extremely important part of the Scrum process. The meeting is led by the Scrum Master as the team comes together to discuss a sprint that has just ended to determine what could be altered to make the next sprint even more productive than the last. In essence, the retrospective meeting allows the opportunity to look at how the product is building is developed.

Who Attends a Retrospective

Along with the Scrum Master, the retrospective meeting includes the product owner and members of the development team. The development team includes everyone who is designing, building, and testing the product. The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the team to evaluate itself along with creating a plan for improvements that need to be put into place before the next Sprint.

The retrospective meeting happens after the Sprint Review is completed and always before the planning meeting for the next Sprint. The meetings are usually three-hour time-boxed meetings unless they will be discussing a shorter Sprint, then the meeting may not last as long. Time boxing helps keep people on the team focused on the desired outcome.

The Scrum Master is in charge of making sure the meeting takes place and that all the people involved have an understanding of the purpose of the meeting. The Scrum Master leads the meeting but also participates as a peer team member with accountability over the entire Scrum process.

Purpose of Scrum Retrospective Meetings

  • Evaluate how the last Sprint went with in reference to tools, people involved in the Sprint, relationships, and the process itself.
  • Identify and command the main items that went well along with potential improvements.
  • Devise a plan for executing improvements to the process the Scrum Team uses to carry out its work.

Scrum Master Duties

It is the duty of the Scrum Master to encourage the Scrum Team to always strive to improve the development process as well as the practices used in the implementation of the Sprint. This helps make the next Sprint more fun and effective. And, speaking of fun, getting a pizza or some donuts and coffee for the team helps improve the morale of the members of the team.

Since the Scrum Master is in charge of the retrospective meetings, he or she needs to make the meeting a safe place to allow members of the team to discuss issues and their opinions. This will facilitate a better outcome of the meeting. Each member of the team needs to feel motivated to participate.

The Scrum Master also needs to address the key points of the retrospective meeting that includes what went right during the Sprint, what went wrong, and what could be done differently to improve upon. The whole purpose of the retrospective meeting is to gain the feedback necessary to improve the product that is the focus of the meeting to make it better than ever.

While the Scrum Master is in charge of facilitating the scrum retrospective meetings, it is the role of the development team to participate in the evaluation of the process of the sprint to ensure improvements will happen in the future. The product owner is part of the meeting to give his or her input on the sprint and what can be done to improve things before the next sprint.

If you’re looking for a way to spice up your retrospectives, check out for ideas on how to make retrospectives more fun.

Result of a Retrospective

When it comes to the entire Scrum process, the retrospective meeting following each Sprint is imperative to facilitating change and making improvements to ensure a quality product. Full participation of each of the members involved in the Scrum retrospective meeting is important to the overall process. Based on this analysis from the Scrum sprint review meeting, the retrospective team can determine if they need to adapt the processes to improve the team’s productivity, effectiveness, quality, and ultimately, satisfaction. The retrospective meeting facilitates the improvements that are imperative to the agile principle of self-organization.

For more information on the full Scrum process, see our article on the full process.