It’s a cycle of events – similar to Scrum sprints – that includes short huddles, planning and review sessions, and explicitly connecting lessons learned to future actions. At Momentum, we complete Past Performance documents as a key component in our long-term success as employees and the long-term success of Momentum as a whole. Our past performance reviews include sections to discuss Next Steps and Potential Opportunities, Challenges and Resolutions, Key Milestones, and Lessons learned. In these sections, we review our project to point out our successes, as well as to voice our concerns and how we will prevent those concerns from coming into play in the future. All of this is part of a Project Retrospective, looking back on things that happened in the past, analyzing them for what they are worth, and creating an effective and efficient plan for moving forward.

  • Diving into key metrics like the project goals, timeline, budget, and KPI’s will help you create benchmarks and determine whether the project has been successful to date.
  • This phase is important for managing client expectations, projecting costs, estimating how much the project is likely to take, as well as planning the specific steps necessary to accomplish it.
  • Maybe you initially thought this was an easy job that would be completed far sooner than it was.
  • Retrospectives are an invaluable tool for improving team dynamics, processes and productivity.
  • No matter how large or small a project or task may be, there will be blockers that impede progress.

The meeting should be considered a safe space for bringing up contentious issues and contrarian views for it to be as productive and insightful as possible. Parabol lets you build custom templates, so you can structure an online retrospective around a project timeline. Instead of by month, as in this example, you could also insert the project’s milestones into a template.

The Project Retrospective

The name of this technique comes from in-person meetings and putting dots on paper sticky notes. Discussion items for retrospective meetings can either be technical or team-related. To do this, you might ask the team which moments felt particularly productive and collaborative — or where there were workflow gaps or misaligned expectations. When hosting a project retrospective, it’s best to do so multiple times throughout the course of the project. Conducting the project retrospective after the project has finished may help you avoid making the same mistakes on future projects but it won’t help you catch issues and make iterations throughout the course of your current project. A project retrospective is a process where an organization or team carves time out of their day to reflect on a current project so everyone can move forward collectively in a more efficient manner.
The biggest advantage of agile is that you can adapt to changes quickly. An agile retrospective is a vital tool in adapting to change, providing the entire team with a venue to identify and rectify problems and make smarter plans for the future. So there you have it, there are countless reasons why you should run a retrospective and how you can plan a successful one. If you are in need of a tool that can help you create a full presentation with ease then we have the tool for you. Mentimeter has been designed to engage any type of audience and to ensure that everyone at every meeting has the chance to take part and share their opinion. The difference between AARs and post-mortems is that the goal isn’t to understand what went wrong and why.
The action plan will allow all team members to set new goals and measure them after the next project or iteration. Scrum teams within Agile environments commonly practice retrospectives, where they often refer to them as Agile retrospectives or Agile sprint retrospectives. These events play a crucial role as valuable project management tools, benefiting not only software development and product development but also various other industries.

When this happens, you risk following the idea of the loudest or most convincing person in the room, rather than considering the collective intelligence of the team. Once the team has determined a course of action, they can close the retrospective. This phase could include giving feedback to the facilitator or your appreciations to thank people for their time, Horowitz explained. Horowitz explained that this phase is important in a retrospective because when teams skip the process of making sure there’s a shared mental model before trying to fix an issue, they are setting themselves up for failure. In a retrospective, the Gather Data phase may involve listing out all the bugs that came out in the previous two weeks or showing the burndown chart for the previous two weeks.
Make sure to take note of key information like who the main stakeholder will be, what their main responsibilities will be, and what their timeline looks like. Getting clear on the who, what, when, where, and why, will ensure everything is organized and easy to digest. An Agile retrospective is a meeting held at the end of an iteration in Agile project management. During an effective retrospective, the team is engaged and there is a clear follow-up plan. The question period during your project retrospective meeting can be used to ask questions about results, ask questions about goals, guidelines, or timelines, or it can be used to clarify each team member’s respective role. Regardless, giving each team member the opportunity to voice their concerns and gain additional insights throughout the course of the project.

Why are agile retrospectives important?

For different action plans, it may be more challenging to come up with a visualization plan, but Horowitz added that it’s almost always possible to visualize change if you think through the goal. For example, let’s say after a retrospective, a team determines that they are not speaking with their stakeholders enough. During the meeting, the team decides the action item is to speak with the stakeholder every day. A simple visualization might be a big flip chart listing each day of the week. Every time you talk with the stakeholder, you’d put a checkmark near that day.

project retrospective

This article will explore everything you need to know about project retrospectives and how you can host them both efficiently and effectively. To make sure no one feels too singled out or put on the defensive, retrospectives should explore every aspect of the project, from locking in the requirements to the execution of the marketing plan. Scheduling, resource allocation, documentation, communication, testing… they’re all viable topics for the discussion. The meeting format is key to an effective retrospective since the value comes from the conversation and dialogue, not just a bunch of individual statements.
This question is good to start with, as it recaps the purpose of the project and what you initially set out to accomplish. This part of the retrospective does not need to be a discussion, rather you can examine the initial goals and objectives and see if you hit all of your targets or not. Below is a sample agenda for an agile retrospective to help you make the most of your time. Meeting lengths will vary from team to team, but each segment of the meeting should take roughly the same amount of time.

Agile Retrospective

When teammates feel safe at work, it becomes easier for them to participate actively in meetings, address or speak up about any problems or concerns, collaborate on projects, and engage with their peers. Creating an inclusive meeting should be at the top of your list when planning for your next project retrospective. Learning from your mistakes is almost as important as successfully going through the project.
project retrospective meaning Allowing them the freedom and the opportunity to contribute to the discussion in a safe and constructive environment will build team unity and collaboration. Instead of the facilitator preparing the agenda ahead of time, the team determines the agenda together using a simple kanban board. You brainstorm what to discuss, prioritize items (typically by dot voting), and agree on the flow of discussion. Reflecting on any challenges that acted as barriers is a great opportunity to peel back the layers and dive into areas that can be streamlined or reinvented in the future. Talking about any challenges openly makes it possible for you as the leader or manager to unblock your teammates or connect them to the tools or resources they may need to make iterations or improvements.
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They can be a great platform for delivering praise and compliments, as well as complaining and pointing fingers when things weren’t so positive. Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat those mistakes in the future. This concept has been preached by many in a variety of disciplines, and product development is no exception. Projects, like people, only have post-mortems when something has gone horribly wrong. Turn to this meeting type when you want to get to the bottom of a critical issue.

During the retrospective, the team discusses what went well, what did not go as planned, and how to make the next work period better. The answers to these questions, along with the insights gained, provide the necessary foundation for developing an action plan to guide the team’s approach in future projects. Based on the retrospective findings, identify and assign specific action items to individual team members. Assigning action items facilitates a smooth transition from the meeting to the implementation phase, fostering effective collaboration and progress towards improvement.

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