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What Is the Goal of Sprint Retrospective Meeting?

Sprint retrospectives are the last step of the Scrum sprint cycle where teams review the Sprint that has been completed to generate ideas for improving the next one.

A sprint retrospective is typically time-boxed at between 60 and 90 minutes but can extend beyond that depending on the length of the sprint itself.

Goals of a sprint retrospective meeting

The focus of the meeting is not on the product itself but the processes, tools, and team dynamics that helped deliver the planned increment.

Sprint retrospectives are usually facilitated by the Scrum master who will steer the meeting towards the following outcomes:

  • To identify what went wrong - Why wasn’t the team able to deliver planned story points? Was there an issue with the process or a tool, perhaps? Or maybe a team member wasn’t able to complete work due to external factors? It’s important to note that this is not about blaming someone or something but learning how to mitigate risks for the next sprint.
  • To identify what went right - Highlight and celebrate achievements beyond what was originally planned for. This helps with morale but is also an opportunity to reinforce Scrum’s key values and principles.
  • To identify what can be improved - Identifying key learnings from the previous sprint so that the next sprint can run more effectively. The team should create and commit to a list of action items.
  • To nurture a positive culture and environment - This can be achieved by adopting Sprint retrospective games, which are a less formal and more fun way to run the meeting.

This last outcome is critical. Scrum masters need team members to feel valued, trusted, and motivated so that they can tackle the next sprint with enthusiasm and energy. This applies to Scrum masters too. 


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Tracking goals of sprint retrospective meetings

Scrum masters can take a leaf out of traditional project management by maintaining a list of issues discussed and actioned during sprint retrospective meetings. For example, identifying risks and managing them via a risk register so that they can be referred to at any time during a project.