Democratic Retrospective
IT Management

Democratic retrospective

When a brand-new member began in my group, he brought with him this fascinating format for a retrospective. We have fine-tuned it together over a number of versions, and now there is time to compose a post about it


This format for retrospective have 5 actions to carry out throughout the conference:

  • Heat Up
  • Zoom in
  • Feedback
  • Ballot
  • Discuss & & Assign.

Listed below I will go through each and among them, in some more information.

Heat Up

We constantly begin with a brief heat up workout to ” awaken our brains” As a facilitator I will put out a declaration, like the following, to the conference individuals:

  • ” Believe one minute for a motion picture character that, for you, represent the last 2 weeks.”
  • ” Believe one minute of a cars and truck maker or cars and truck design that, for you, represent the last 2 weeks.”

After a minute or so I resolve each conference individual separately, and they need to inform their option + soon intention it.

Zoom in

After we have actually gotten our brains going, we begin to ” focus” on the previous period that the retrospective will cover. This we do utilizing something we call ” Pass the pen” (called as a tribute to the great old “Pass the cents”- video game )

Preparation: Draw a timeline, vertically (NOT horizontally!), on a white boards with 3 points: ” Start”, ” Middle” and ” End” ( see the image above) The timeline is drawn vertically to make it much easier for the conference individuals to compose in occasions (from delegated right) throughout this workout.

Workout: All staff member are asked to stand in front of the white boards, with the timeline drawn onto it. An employee ask to” pass me the pen” and compose one thing/event that did take place throughout the time duration. When done, she or he holds up the pen in the air, and another individual can ask “pass the pen” and so on. Let this go on for about 3-5 minutes, or occasions are stopped being included.

This workout is utilized to, as a group, remember what did really take place throughout the time duration that the retrospective will cover. It’s really simple to forget.


This action is where the majority of the time will be invested throughout the retrospective.

Preparation: The facilitator draws areas on the white boards (see the image above) for the following 5 classifications:

  • — Favorable.
  • — Unfavorable.
  • ?– Concerns without an option.
  • << flower> >– Favorable words to show a coworker, within, or beyond the group.
  • << lightbulb> >– Ideas/solutions.

Workout: The conference individuals are asked to invest 10-15 minutes on composing post-it: s fitting the 5 classifications provided above.

When everybody is done, one conference individual at the time, steps up to the white boards and installs their post-it: s + offer a brief spoken description for each one of them.

Keep In Mind! Various colors on the post-it: s can be utilized to separate out each individual, if wanted/needed.


The retrospective now begins to come to an end, just 2 actions stay. In this action post-it: s from,?, and << lightbulb> > are organized together on the white boards. The favorable ones are naturally excellent, and we will enjoy of them, however we do not require to bring them even more in the retrospective. For the << flowers>>, those are gathered by the facilitator and distributed to the ones that got them, after the conference.

For the ballot, the well-known nimble technique of ” dot ballot” is utilized. Each individuals gets 3 (or any other ideal number) “dots” to utilize how they desire on the post-it: s.

To not predisposition each other (that much), all the individuals collect in front of the white boards, with one pen each, and put their dots “at the exact same time” (after a “Ready, Set, Go”- call).

The (group of) post-it: s are now reorganized a bit once again. Location the one( s) with the majority of votes at the top, followed by the 2nd most votes and so on.

Normally it’s rather simple to figure out the leading 3-5 ones. The rest is deserted, democracy have actually spoken and they have actually been chosen ” trivial adequate to take even more at this moment of time” (naturally they can, and will, emerge once again in a later retrospective).

Discuss & & Assign

Time is quickly up for the conference, and the last thing we do is to go over the leading 3-5 activities/tasks that we pick to take forward. This is done by discussing them to discover concrete actions, and likewise to designate them to individuals (that will own them).


What do you think of this format for a retrospective? To me it’s a good mix of “composing feedback on post-it: s” and Lean Coffee (democratically choose what is essential, in this case, to bring additional). This retrospective can (and will) be integrated with an activity to act on actions from previous retrospectives. Best of luck with your next retrospective!

All the very best,
Tomas from TheAgileist

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