How to Get the Real Purpose of Iteration Retrospective?

Agile retrospective is the main aspect that supports the team to look into the facets of what went well during the past iteration and helps to recognize the areas of refinement for the upcoming iterations. But, due to lack of preparation the effort of carrying out iteration retrospective turns out a pointless work. Sometimes, it also fails due to the absence of main associate members of team.


What makes it fail?

The major reasons behind the failure of iteration retrospective are partial preparation, low focus, defects in data gathering, no active participation of all team members in discussion, focusing only on obstacles from outside rather than concentrating on problems within the team, choosing more stories for doing than the team capacity, not following proper flow of work and practicing different plan of action.

Elements of Iteration Retrospective

Iteration retrospective includes both qualitative and quantitative features. The quantitative assessment helps to get information regarding the metrics of the team and measures its performance. The qualitative review allows to converse about the work done by various teams and the different challenges they come across during the particular iteration.


The predominant techniques used for obtaining intuitive feedback for conducting successful iteration retrospective are

  1. Working as individual during the time of retrospective - Individual team members are adding their post-its and then discussing the patterns as a group
  2. Making appreciation of work - Appreciating the help you got from others as an individual or to the team
  3. Getting the concept behind iteration - Choosing a single word to describe the complete iteration
  4. Give ratings to the past iteration in the scale of 1 to 5 and aiming to make the next iteration to achieve a level of 5
  5. Make the whole retrospective simple by adding three columns for ‘What Went Well’, ‘What Didn’t’ and ‘What Could have been Better Next Time’.

The retrospective are the continuous improvement steps which will be repeated in the duration of every two weeks. The iteration Retrospective should be carried out in a time boxed action, where it as a particular time limit of an hour or less.

In order to make a successful retrospective, it is necessary to engage all the team members. When everyone are given an equal opportunity and space for their thoughts, then it is easy to get proper coordination.

Ways to make Productive Iteration Retrospective


To get favorable outcome from an iteration retrospective, it is important to obtain the results of actions of previous retrospective and figure out the necessary improvements need to be adopted in present iteration. Involve the person who has the authority to adopt the feedbacks of retrospective, in plan of action. Engage all the participants in a face-to-face conversation prior to the retrospective. Enquire with all team members about their blockages in the participation of retrospective and support them to overcome their obstruction.

Be prepare for adopting modifications in relation to the design and make sure the involvement of all participants in the imperative changes. Stress on the retrospective objectives and the main list of items need to be discussed during the retrospective. Get suggestions from each person for improvement of the retrospective. Emphasize on bringing the complete data and its necessity, which helps the respondent to evoke changes in coming iteration. Enquire with each participant about the left out things and convey him the importance of his participation.

It is important to concentrate on the Start, Stop and Continue Doing of the retrospective. This helps to categorise the work which has been completed and allows to pay more attention on the work need to be done.

The start section allows the team member to think on the stories need to be added to the process. The items on stop list helps to focus on the things which is not necessary to do or need to stop doing these. The continue list consists of items that the team would like to continue to work on.


The iteration retrospective can be made fruitful by following a proper plan of action, learning new skills and by maintaining healthy relationship within an organization. It is significant to involve all the team members during the iteration retrospective, so that every obstruction in the team can be discussed and helps to find out effective solutions to overcome.


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