Chris Gagné

Delight people. Create value. Do good.

Some Thoughtful Retrospective Questions

I’ve used relatively standard Agile Retrospective questions to great success over my career:

  • What’s one word that best describes this sprint? (one per person)
  • What were the positive aspects of this sprint that we’d like to persist?
  • What were the deltas we’d like to change?
  • How can we change our behavior, process, or definition of done to address the above?
  • What actions can we take (with volunteered date commitments from one or more individuals) to address the above?
  • And the most important “Big Daddy” that we should ask ourselves constantly… Why? Repeat that one another four times…

While this is a nice base, I’ve been looking for other questions to ask. Here’s several that I liked from Ben Linder’s blog, Sharing My Experience:

  • What still puzzles us?
  • What helps you to be successful as a team?
    • How did you do it?
  • Where and when did it go wrong in this sprint?
  • What do you expect, from who?
  • Which tools or techniques proved to be useful? Which not?
  • What is you biggest impediment?
  • If you could change 1 thing, what would it be?
  • What caused the problems that you had in this sprint?

Here are some nice why examples:

  • Why did you do it like this?
  • Why did this (or didn’t this) work for you?
  • Why do you consider something to be important?
  • Why do you feel this way?
  • Why did you decide to work together on this?

From Debategraph, I liked “What don’t we know yet?”

Are there other questions you like to ask during retrospectives?

Photo from Magnus D on flickr

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Chris for sharing my questions!

    Asking questions is an easy way to start with retrospectives. Since questions can vary, it’s also flexible which makes it suitable in many situations. You can help mature teams by asking more detailed and focused questions to help them to fine-tune their way of working.

    Using different kinds of exercises helps you to get the most out of retrospectives. Our book Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives provides practical Retrospective Exercises that you can use to lead retrospectives with your teams.

    One other question that I use in retrospecives is “why”. A strong question, but one that should used with care as it can provoke heavy reactions. Do you use it?

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