Running retros is not that easy and it can be hard sometimes if you don’t have everything planned and a framework in mind. So this post will help you to do your first sprint retrospective in a few basic steps.
First you should invite everyone involved on the team to participate on the retrospective and assign a facilitator to guide it. The facilitator can be someone from the team or someone from outside that the team is comfortable with sharing details with.
You can start by creating a board on FunRetro and if you want to simplify things you can select the basic template “Went well - To improve - Action Items” and select 6 votes per person default option.
A sprint retrospective consist of 5 basic steps:
1 - Review last retro
Before starting the retro you can review with your team your last action items and discuss what was completed and what was not. In this step you can discuss the blockers and if the action item should be moved to the next sprint or not.
2 - Brainstorm
Start your retro by asking your participants to do a brainstorm individually and write cards on “Went well” and “To improve” columns. Those cards should reflect things or feelings that happened on the last sprint and people think it’s worth sharing it.
A facilitator can control this step by allowing people to write for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes is done, everyone should stop writing.
3 - Merge similar cards
In this step the facilitator should read card by card and ask people if they think that card should be merged with another one on the board. If everyone agrees they should be merged, the facilitator can merge them.
4 - Votes
After merging the cards the facilitator can asign 5 minutes for people to vote on the cards they want to discuss, each person will have 3 votes for the “Went well” column and 3 more for the “To improve” column.
5 - Discussion and Action items
After everyone voted on the cards, you can sort the columns by votes and select the top 3 most voted cards to be discussed with everyone. You can start with the most voted card and read out-loud to everyone. After that the team can discuss how the issue can be fixed and what constructive things can be done. After that you can do the same with the other 2 cards, or more, if there’s enough time for it.
When people agree to create an action item, the facilitator can write the card on the “Action items” column and write the name of the person assigned to it.
The action items should follow the SMART format: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
This step should last about 20 minutes or until your team discussed the most voted cards.
This is the most basic format to do a retrospective, it’s not the best one but one that works. You can follow the steps and also customise in order to best fit your team process.