Different approaches to Sprint Retrospectives


for Agile teams



By Gopinath Venu

California, USA


A sprint retrospective is a meeting held by an agile team at the end of each sprint to inspect and reflect on what went well, identify areas for improvement, and plan for the next sprint. It is an opportunity for the team to come together and discuss their experiences, identify what worked and what didn’t, and make changes to their process for the next sprint.

Foundations of a Sprint retrospective practices:

  • Start with a warm-up. The retrospective should start with a warm-up activity to get the team engaged and thinking about the sprint. This could be a game, a brainstorming activity, or simply a round of introductions.
  • Identify what went well. The team should start by identifying what went well during the sprint. This could include anything from completing tasks on time to working well together as a team.
  • Identify areas for improvement. Once the team has identified what went well, they should then identify areas for improvement. This could include anything from communication issues to technical problems.
  • Brainstorm solutions. The team should then brainstorm solutions to the areas for improvement that they identified. This could involve changing the way they work, adding new tools or processes, or simply being more mindful of their actions.
  • Set goals for the next sprint. Finally, the team should set goals for the next sprint based on the areas for improvement that they identified. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.

Involving the team to participate effectively in one of the Sprint Ceremonies like this Sprint Retrospective is important and some of the practices for enabling an active participation are:

  • Create a safe space. The retrospective should be a safe space where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. This means avoiding personal attacks and focusing on the process, not the people.
  • Encourage participation. Everyone on the team should participate in the retrospective. This means giving everyone a chance to speak and listening to everyone’s ideas.
  • Be specific. When identifying areas for improvement, be as specific as possible. This will help the team to come up with more effective solutions.
  • Focus on action items. The goal of the retrospective is to identify and implement improvements. Make sure that the team leaves the meeting with specific action items that they can commit to.
  • Follow up. After the retrospective, the team should follow up on the action items that they identified. This will help to ensure that the improvements are actually implemented.

There are different styles/formats of Sprint Retrospectives that a Scrum Master should feel free to experiment with in order to not let the team suffer from Retrospective fatigue. They are:


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How to cite this article: Venu, G. (2023).  Different approaches to Sprint Retrospectives for Agile teams, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue IX, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/pmwj133-Sep2023-Venu-different-approaches-to-sprint-retrospectives-for-agile-teams.pdf

About the Author

Gopinath Venu

Texas, USA


Gopinath Venu has about 19 Years of experience in the IT Industry. He is certified in PMP, PMI-ACP from Project Management Institute (PMI), SAFe Advanced Scrum Master Certification from Scaled Agile Institute. He also holds a certification in AWS as a Certified Practitioner and Azure Certified from Microsoft. He has done multiple roles such as Project Manager, QA Manager, Scrum Master in his career. He is an active member of International Toastmasters. He has presented papers in PM conferences organized by local chapters of PMI. He presented a paper on Agile in the 15th Annual PMI Symposium organized by PMI Dallas and The University of Texas at Dallas. He also contributes to articles and discussions on www.projectmanagement.com.