12 Steps to Running a Sprint Retrospective Like a Pro: Step 1

Join Certified Scrum Trainer® John McFadyen for a 12-part video series exploring the scrum event known as the sprint retrospective. Throughout the series, he’ll share tips and tricks for creating impactful, engaging, and effective sprint retrospectives for your teams.

The sprint retrospective is a scrum event held at the end of a sprint. During the retrospective, team members reflect on how their collaborations, interactions, tools, and processes supported or hindered them during the sprint. They'll identify areas that can be improved upon going forward. 

The goal of the retrospective is to create a better sense of teamwork, trust, and communication within the team. By working together to identify areas for improvement, the team can become more effective and efficient. 

McFadyen shares what he believes are the five key steps to a successful sprint retrospective, each of which plays a crucial role in the process. 

  1. Set the scene: This stage is all about getting people engaged and thinking about the retrospective in a different way. Quick exercises, such as drawing a movie poster or writing a weather forecast, can get the energy flowing.
  2. Gather the data: In this stage, the team collects all of the thoughts and experiences from the sprint. As the scrum master, you may have data from the day-to-day running of the sprint, but the developers and product owner also have a lot of information in their heads.
  3. Generate insights: This stage involves taking a step back and looking for patterns and trends in the data that has been collected. The team works together to identify areas that need improvement and they generate ideas for how to make those improvements. 
  4. Decide what to do: In this stage, the team determines one or more opportunities for improving how they work together or with other teams, and then they make a plan of action to implement those changes. 
  5. Closing the retrospective: This final stage is often overlooked, but it is crucial. The team members discuss what they have learned and how they can improve their process for the next sprint. This stage also provides an opportunity for the scrum master to receive feedback on their role and how they can better facilitate the retrospective. 

With these five steps, the scrum team creates action items to support its continuous improvement and self-management. The sprint retrospective, one of the five scrum events, is crucial to the framework and creates a better sense of teamwork and communication within the team.


Need to watch any of the other videos in the series? Find the links below!



John McFadyen is an Executive and Enterprise Agile Coach with proven experience working on some of the UK and Europe’s largest, most complex Agile Transformations. As a Certified Scrum Trainer, John brings a wealth of experience as an Agile coach, Agile practitioner and software developer into each of the 4 core courses he provides. Certified ScrumMaster Certified Scrum Product Owner Advanced Certified ScrumMaster Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster The war stories, the insights into successful Agile transformations and everything he has learned from coaching high-performance Agile teams combines to provide course delegates with a unique, compelling training experience that transforms as much as it empowers. John is passionate about cultivating high-performing Agile organisations that unleash people’s passion and creativity. As an Agile coach, John has worked with C-Suite level individuals on cultivating and embedding Business Agility within the DNA or large organisations. In addition to being an Agile coach and Certified Scrum Trainer, John is also a founding partner of Agile Centre. As an entrepreneur, John works at growing Agile capability with clients from around the world. Agile Centre has fast established itself as a pioneer in the cultivation and development of Agile capabilities within organisations great and small. John leverages his experience as an Agile coach, consultant and trainer to help organisations embed Agile values, mindsets and develop a high-performance culture of Business Agility. John is also deeply invested in growing the next generation of great Scrum Masters via the Agile Coaching Academy. An 18-month journey that helps practitioners move through an apprenticeship in Agile coaching through to journeyman and practising Agile coach. John is also an international keynote speaker, author and Business Agility mentor. Visit www.johnmcfadyen.com for more insights into John’s writing, thought leadership and mentorship.

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