The retrospective is an internal team meeting designed to look inward at the process and organization. It is designed to help the team self-facilitate the process and assure that they are adapting to changing environments and seeking to improve. The goal of this session is to promote continuous improvement in how the team does the work and provide more value to the rest of the organization.
For a two week sprint, the sprint retrospective should only be 15-30 minutes in length. If there are significant issues to be addressed, an independent facilitator should be brought in to help facilitate the meeting.
Three questions are asked during this meeting:
What should we START doing in the next sprint we failed to do in this sprint?
What should we CONTINUE doing in the next sprint that we did well in this sprint?
What should we STOP doing in the next sprint that we did wrong in this sprint?
In addition to these three questions, organizational impediments that are negatively impacting the team’s productivity should be identified, prioritized and assigned. The information from this meeting should be documented in the sprint summary report along with other sprint information.
Teams need to be careful not to let this meeting turn into a rambling complaint session. If properly facilitated, the meeting should identify a few key prioritized process changes that the team will focus on for the next sprint. It is not meant to document and address all issues surrounding the team.
Normally this meeting is held after the Sprint Review meeting and just prior to the Sprint Planning meeting. However, early in the agile adoption cycle, teams may hold this meeting prior to the sprint review so that they can provide feedback to the stakeholders about how the agile process adoption is proceeding.