The Sprint Retrospective is usually the last thing done in a sprint and many teams will complete the meeting immediately following the Sprint Review. The entire team, including both the Scrum Master and the Product Owner should participate. Retrospectives are usually scheduled for up to an hour but allow time for any hot topics or team conflicts that may arise as a result of this meeting.
The environment for Sprint Retrospectives must be safe for everyone. This means attendees must be transparent while treating others with respect. This is not an opportunity for personal criticism or attack.
While Scrum says little about the internal structure of Sprint Retrospectives, it does specify that the output of the Sprint Retrospective is any improvements the team will perform for the next Sprint. Productive Sprint Retrospectives share the following characteristics:
- The entire team is engaged
- Discussion focuses on the team rather than individuals
- The team’s Definition of Done is visited and hopefully expanded
- A list of actionable commitments is created
- The results of the previous Sprint Retrospective are visited
- The discussion is relevant for all attendees
In many respects, these meetings are the most effective and action-oriented form of a review meeting but they can be tricky to run in the right way. The Scrum Master can facilitate this sprint retrospective meeting by asking everyone to just shout out ideas during the scrum. Or, for example, he or she can tell everyone to focus on identifying something to stop this time because not much attention has been paid to things to stop in recent retrospectives. After an initial list of ideas has been brainstormed, teams will commonly vote on specific items to focus on during the coming sprint.
Learn more about the Sprint Retrospective Meeting and why it is considered by many to be the life-blood of a development team. Courtesy of agilemethodology.org, this video series takes you through the life-cycle of a Sprint, from planning through to retrospective. Link to Video 6 - Sprint Retrospective Meeting here.