A time for reflection can be a powerful force to move forward faster and better. Holding regular retrospective meetings is one of the most effective ways to transform lessons from the past into plans for a brighter future. Use this retrospective template to capture invaluable insights, generate meaningful ideas, and move your team in the right direction.
Continuous improvement is the name of the game when it comes to retrospectives. This meeting note template lets you tap into the profound potential of these sessions by forming a blueprint for better teamwork through three main components:
Agile product teams made retrospective meetings popular, but anyone can benefit from them. Whether you're running a retrospective for project, service, or leadership teams, this outline can be easily modified to fit your unique approach. Tailor it to keep your sessions simple, stay focused, and capture the fresh feedback that matters most.
Cultivating an open, honest atmosphere is crucial to figuring out what's been working well and what needs work. Streamline trust through transparency by opening up this retrospective template to your team. With sharing and centralization capabilities, your team can contribute key discussion points before the meeting and stay aligned on the main takeaways afterward.
Staying action-oriented is essential for making true progress. This meeting note template can connect to your organization's favorite workflow tools and transform any of your notes into assignable actions with a few clicks. So your team can stay aligned and tackle the work in an environment that works best for them.
It's important to take a step back once in a while to see the best way to move forward. Drive positive change in your project, team, and organization with this retrospective template.
Retrospective Best Practices
- Decide on a standard format for reflection that everyone can understand
- Have each participant complete first make conclusions individually, then share their results with their team. The typical pattern is that the facilitator will start by giving instructions to everyone, then provide time for people to work individually on their exercise, and finally ask each person to share the items they chose to work on. This pattern allows people to put their best foot forward and share their results honestly, while at the same time allowing others to react to those results non-judgmentally. It also allows the facilitator to track who feels that a particular issue is important.
- The facilitator must clearly define the purpose of a retrospective session and set appropriate expectations for team members' participation for them to fully engage rather than sit back and be reactionary.
- Retrospective meetings are most effective when participants have already completed a project, having achieved their goals or otherwise. If a project is still in progress, it may be too soon to have a retrospective, unless the retrospective is about one aspect of the project.
- Discuss the effectiveness of the past efforts, both successes, and failures. This will help participants see how useful analysis can be when accurately framed in past successes and failures versus potential future benefits versus practical implementation strategies.
- Revisit key decision points together to ensure everyone keeps making sound decisions rather than being swayed by others' opinions.
Retrospective Agenda Template FAQs
Is this retrospective agenda template available for free download?
Yes. You can download the example retrospective agenda as a Word Doc or make a copy as a Google Doc. You can also add it to your free Hugo account from this page.
What should a retrospective meeting include?
A retrospective meeting is a way for an organization to diagnose issues in their operation and discuss what can be done to improve. It's typically done after a project has occurred, with the idea of improving future projects. For example, if a company is struggling to meet deadlines on their construction project because they don't have enough staff members to do the work, the company may hold a retrospective meeting in order to discuss what problems they can overcome before moving forward.
The team needs to decide what they want to discuss during this meeting. During this meeting, the team should treat it like a brainstorming session. They will come up with ideas of how to approach the problem at hand. After their discussion, they will need to decide on what steps they will take in order to improve their process. It's important that all options are treated equally so that no idea can be discarded because it doesn't seem like an immediate solution.
What is the purpose of a retrospective?
A retrospective meeting is a meeting that takes place some time after the completion of a project to discuss what went well, what did not go well, and what can be done better. The goal is to identify some key learnings from the project in order to improve future projects.
How do you facilitate a good retrospective?
- Establish an honest and positive environment
- Listen to people's feelings
- Ask questions for clarification
- Take your time to think about what's been said
- Appeal for objectivity and propose ideas, not solutions
- Rewrite outcomes in short sentence form
- Conclude the meeting with a high-level summary
- Establish next steps
- Document the outcome for future reference
- Celebrate the work done
In agile development, is the retrospective meeting mandatory?
It depends on your team. Some teams might decide that these meetings are helpful while others might decide that they're just a waste of time. It's up to you and the rest of your team to determine if these meetings will be worth their time and effort and whether or not you'll stick with them for the long term. If you're using Scrum, it's recommended that retrospectives should take place at regular intervals so that the team can review progress made towards meeting goals.
What's the difference between retroactive and retrospective?
Retrospective: A retrospective is a meeting or other event at which we review what has happened and apply the lessons learned to our current work.
Retroactive: The word retroactive can be either an adjective or a verb and it literally means that something is done after the event.