Sprint Retrospective Start Stop Continue Examples

When it comes to running a sprint retrospective, the start-stop-continue framework is one of the most common approaches used. It's a great way to gain actionable feedback from short, simple meetings.

While this framework may seem simple, there are all kinds of sprint retrospective start-stop-continue examples that you could follow. These include different types of questions you can ask, and different types of outcomes to focus on.

This guide will explain some of the best examples you can try to help you make the most of this type of sprint retrospective.

What is a Start Stop Continue Retrospective?

A start-stop-continue retrospective is a type of team reflection meeting method used in agile project management. During this meeting, the team discusses what actions should be started, stopped, and continued from the previous sprint or iteration. This is done before heading into the next sprint.

The goal is to identify areas for improvement and to make changes to processes, practices, and behaviors to enhance overall performance and achieve project goals more effectively.

This is achieved by covering three areas, or asking three questions:

  • Start: What should the team start doing in the next retrospective that they are not currently doing? This can include ways to solve current problems or introduce new ideas, workflows, or tools that the team thinks can optimize their work.
  • Stop: What is the team currently doing that they should stop? This can be anything that is holding the team back or adding unnecessary strain to the team.
  • Continue: What is the team doing that is adding value to the project and needs to be continued? This helps to recognize successes. It can also refer to tasks where the team is not yet sure of the outcome, and they want to continue to see what happens.

While this is a simple framework for a sprint retrospective, start-stop-continue reflections can help teams to gain a lot of meaningful and actionable insights. This is because the team understands exactly what they should keep on doing, what they should avoid, and what new things they need to do to achieve success.

Everyone on the Scrum team must contribute their thoughts toward the start-stop-continue framework so that the outcome of the meeting is beneficial across the entire team.

Sprint Retrospective Start Stop Continue Examples

While this retrospective framework is simple, there are various ways you could apply it to your Scrum team. Here are a few sprint retrospective start-stop-continue examples you can try. Each one will help you gain a slightly different outcome and perspective from the team.

Sprint Retrospective Start Stop Continue Examples for Questions

First, let's cover a few different types of questions you can ask for each stage of these meetings. Here are some great sprint retrospective start-stop-continue examples you could use for each of the three stages.

Start Questions

  • What task can be assigned to a newly joined member of our project team?
  • Our customer has granted us a longer deadline. What new feature can we add to exceed their expectations?
  • With our budget now doubled, what steps can we take?
  • What can we do to avoid any issues experienced in the previous sprint?

Stop Questions

  • In case we lose a team member in the project, what can we compromise on to still meet deadlines?
  • What item has been consistently lingering on your to-do list without being completed?
  • What is a current source of frustration for you?
  • What is something that held you back from reaching your targets in the previous sprint?

Continue Questions

  • What is something that our customer appreciates and enjoys about our work?
  • What aspects of this project bring you the most satisfaction?
  • What are some practices or activities that embody and reinforce our company culture?
  • What successes did we experience in the previous sprint? Or, what were you most proud of achieving and how did you do it?

These are a few different types of questions and angles you can ask team members in each stage of the retrospective. In each case, you'll get quite different results.

To help you understand the types of start-stop-continue outcomes a bit better, let's explore a few examples of what each element can involve.

Sprint Retrospective "Start" Examples

When looking at sprint retrospective start-stop-continue examples, there are a few different ways you can approach the "start" element. Let's break these down:

  • Start implementing regular check-ins with team members to increase collaboration and communication.
  • Start adopting a new technique for testing code to improve quality and catch bugs early.
  • Start implementing a system for tracking project progress and keeping stakeholders updated.
  • Start testing use cases for the new product release.
  • Start implementing a new communication system between team members.

Sprint Retrospective "Stop" Examples

Here are a few types of "stop" examples that can be an outcome of your sprint retrospective:

    Stop continuing to use an outdated tool that has proven to be inefficient.

    Stop spending too much time on non-priority tasks that do not directly contribute to project goals.

    Stop ignoring feedback from team members and stakeholders.

    Stop adding too many stories into the sprint.

Sprint Retrospective "Continue" Examples

Finally, some examples of what can be "continued" after a start-stop-continue meeting:

  • Continue holding daily stand-up meetings to keep the team informed and on track.
  • Continue encouraging team members to speak up and share their ideas during meetings.
  • Continue regularly celebrating small wins and successes to maintain team morale and motivation.
  • Meeting a minimum of 90% of the team's shared goals.

Final Thoughts

When done properly, the start-stop-continue retrospective framework can provide some priceless insights from Scrum teams. The sprint retrospective start-stop-continue examples above all offer great ways to use this type of retrospective to achieve the right kind of outcome.

By using the right sprint retrospective tools, asking the right questions, and focusing on the right areas of the sprint, these quick meetings can add loads of value to the sprint and project ahead.

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