12 April 2024

The Scrum framework : Sprint Retrospective

The Scrum framework consists of Scrum Teams and their associated accountabilities, artifacts, events and rules as defined in the Scrum Guide.

Scrum events

Sprint Retrospective definition

  • Sprint Retrospective is a mandatory Event of Scrum and is a feedback loop that team members can Inspect and Adapt their process to establish continuous improvement.
    • It should be conducted at the end of each Sprint.
  • The Sprint Retrospective has a 3 hours maximum, but can be shorter with Sprints under a month long.

Sprint Retrospective purpose

  • The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to plan ways to increase quality and effectiveness.
    • The Sprint Retrospective serves the Scrum Team to inspect the past Sprint and plan for improvements to be enacted during the next Sprint.
      • In addition, the Sprint Retrospective is also a mandatory event of Scrum and is about the Scrum Team and processes.
      • Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Scrum Team to inspect itself and create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next Sprint.
        • Sprint Retrospective must inspect how the last Sprint went with regards to people, relationships, process, and tools.
        • Sprint Retrospective should identify and order the major items that went well and potential improvements to the way the Scrum Team does work.
  • Sprint Retrospective should create a plan for implementing improvements to the way the Scrum Team does its work.

Sprint Retrospective improvement

  • Simplicity and reflection are core agile practices.
    • Simplicity, “the art of maximizing the amount of work not done”, is one of the Agile Manifesto principles.
    • Reflection is in the center of iteration retrospectives aimed to improve the team’s process and performance.
    • Focusing on reflection and simplicity will most likely help the team improve its process.

Sprint Retrospective participants

  • All the Scrum Team.
    • The Scrum Master participates as a peer team member in the meeting from the accountability over the Scrum process.

Sprint Retrospective time-box

  • It is timeboxed to a maximum of three hours for a one-month Sprint.
    • For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.
  • The Sprint Retrospective concludes the Sprint.

Sprint Retrospective practice

  • The Scrum Team inspects how the last Sprint went with regards to individuals, interactions, processes, tools, and their Definition of Done (DoD).
    • Inspected elements often vary with the domain of work.
    • Assumptions that led them astray are identified and their origins explored.
    • The Scrum Team discusses what went well during the Sprint, what problems it encountered, and how those problems were (or were not) solved.
    • The Scrum Team identifies the most helpful changes to improve its effectiveness.
    • The most impactful improvements are addressed as soon as possible.
  • Scrum Master (SM) ensures that the Sprint Retrospective takes place and is understood.
    • Scrum Master must ensure that the Sprint Retrospective remains positive and productive, and that attendants understand the purpose.
    • Scrum Master teaches the team to keep the Sprint Retrospective within the time-box.
  • The Sprint Retrospective occurs after the Sprint Review and prior to the next Sprint Planning.
    • This is at most a three-hour meeting for one-month Sprints or shorter.

Sprint Retrospective impediments

  • What should the Scrum Team have identified by the end of the Sprint Retrospective ?
    • Improvements that will be implemented for the next Sprint.
    • In the precedent Scrum Guide (edition 2017), at least one priority process improvement identified in the Sprint Retrospective is added to the Sprint Backlog.
    • Now in the Scrum Guide 2020, the process improvements are added to the Product Backlog and ordered by the Product Owner.
    • After the Sprint Retrospective discussion all the improvement items discussed are placed in the Product Backlog.
    • To ensure continuous improvement, the next Sprint Backlog (& not the current one) should include at least one high priority process improvement identified in the previous Sprint Retrospective meeting.

Scrum framework


More informations for the Scrum PSD certification here.

Updated : 03/09/2021

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