What are Agile Retrospectives?
An Agile retrospective is a special workshop, also sometimes called improvement workshop. In a retrospective the attendees look back at their past (from Latin retrospectare, "look back") to find ways to improve in their future.
While the retrospective's elements are the same as the ones in a workshop (name and description of a theme, a goal, actionable outcomes, etc.) and the retrospective's facilitator has a similar role as a workshop facilitator, the retrospective's agenda follows these structure (see "Agile Retrospectives" by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen):
- Set the stage: prepare to focus on the retrospective.
- Gather data: create a shared picture of the current situation.
- Generate insights: explore and deepen the understanding of situational patterns.
- Decide what to do: find executable actions for improvement.
- Close the retrospective: plan for follow-ups and end the retrospective.
Agile retrospectives can be done on several organisational levels. Most common are team retrospectives and retrospectives for a part of an organisation, such as a department, or the while organisation.
An Agile retrospective on a team level is usually done after every iteration and depends upon the length of the iteration (the longer the iteration, the longer the retrospective). It can last for only 90 minutes or up to half a day. Agile retrospectives for a part or the whole of an organisation usually lasts for half a day up to several days.