Your Favorite Agile Retrospectives. POST THEM HERE AND LETS BUILD THE ULTIMATE LIST by Troy Lightfoot


The internet (and books) are full of retro techniques but with the expertise on this site I thought it would be cool to put together a list of our favorites so we can have a toolbox of techniques that are proven. I will use this post to keep a numbered list of techniques that you guys/girls post in this thread. Troy Lightfoot

  1. Starfish Retro
  2. Dixit Retrospective
  3. Scrum Values Retro
  4. Soups and Circles Retro
  5. Assessment Retro
  6. 360 Appreciation opening
  7. Emotional Seismograph
  8. 4L’s
  9. Fishbone / Ishikawa Diagram.
  10. Moving Motivators
  11. Lego Retrospective
  12. Two Truths and a Lie
  13. Keep collaborating and nobody explodes
  14. The fear and vulnerability retro
  15. Speed Car
  16. Sprint Satisfaction
  17. Story Cubes
  18. Anchors and Engine
  19. Like, Wish, Wonder
  20. Magic Wand Retrospective
  21. Nirvana Retro
  22. Trust and Ownership Retro
  23. Speed dating
  24. Modern Agile Retro
  25. Heart of Agile Retro
  26. Thieves of Time retro
  27. Integral Retro
  28. CAIN (Continuous Attention to Individuals’ Needs)

Disaster Retro
From wish to action retro
What can we get wrong?

Here is a starfish retro I have used which I thought went over really well…

It’s called the mutated starfish retro.


Dixit Retrospective: Dixit Retrospective

The basis of this retro is using the game “Dixit” to drive really interesting thoughts and conversations!


Scrum values retro: Scrum Values Starfish Retro

I created a starfish based retro using the Scrum Values. Details in the link above!


Circles and Soup Retro by Diana Larsen:

“This game, introduced by Diana Larsen, is used to efficiently form high-quality plans through retrospective analysis by recognizing factors that are within the team’s control. During retrospective activities, it is easy to hit a wall of unproductive blame. The moment the group reaches this barrier, “someone shoulds” and “if only you coulds” bounce around the room, knocking out any practical ideas for future advancement. Before determining what you can improve, you must first be clear on the dimensions you are able to regulate and what you need to adapt to. By identifying factors your team can control, influence, or cannot change, you can collectively discover how to respond to and overcome various situations.”


Assessment Retro:

Something I have done many teams is team self assessments. Basically you can fully customize assessments for your teams or use out of the box questions that are already in the tool. All those questions are based off of original source materials. You can use this to kind of create a meta framework which is customized and you can focus on team and business outcomes.

I use this to identify areas of improvement. Help the team figure out how to improve over time and bring awareness and transparency to the org about things out of the teams control.


I usually do this with newer teams after a few sprints. Especially during storming phase. And it’s good to do every once in a while at the start of a retro. It can take a while but it’s definitely worth and it I’ve seen great results from it.

360 Appreciation Retro:


I had been trying to get retros happen within my team for some time. I’m just a developer, so this is the purest by invitation only approach. In the end I started having them as part of a Friday pub lunch conversation every couple of weeks. I kept it to a simple, casual The 5 What’s. This has progressed to it being included as part of the sprints. We are making progress.

We still have a ways to go. Next one will be putting our goals on a wall next to the sprint board where we can see them.

We are keeping it simple. One thing to work on and keeping the others in view. We will get there (or at least I hope so).


I’m going to say though, pub lunch for a retro is definitely not the worst :smiley:


One of my favorites that most teams seem to have fun with is the emotional seismograph

  1. Team members write on sticky notes ANY significant event (good, bad, neutral) that occured in the past sprint
  2. Team members place sticky notes on timeline (and stacking duplicates) of when event occured
  3. Each team member then draws an emotional line correlating to the mood they felt to each event throughout the sprint
  4. Team discusses and collaborates on trends or patterns of emotions during sprint
  5. Team dot votes (2 votes each) on the most important events to talk about in more detail
  6. Team then writes on sticky notes what went well compared to the previous emotional graph/retro notes
  7. Team then writes on sticky notes what they can improve upon to make the team more happy
  8. Dot voting occurs again to the top 2 most important improvement items the team would like to accomplish for next retrospective.

(picture shows a retro for a program increment/multiple sprints)


One-word retros. Love. :slight_smile:


I often use 4Ls or Stop-Start-Continue. In the spirit of mixing things up I’ve had success with:

  • Fishbone / Ishikawa Diagram.
  • 6 Thinking Hats (used for a release-level).
  • Alignment with the 12 Agile Principles (Which items resonate as positives, which as need improvement).
  • At a team’s request, I’ll facilitate the alignment exercise using the 7 Wastes of Software Development.
  • For team discovery, I’ve used Management 3.0’s Moving Motivators (


First off I like many of the retrospective techniques already called out here.

A personal favorite that I’ve run a few times is a Lego retrospective. Basically you need a good big old pile of Legos of various types and have the team members build a representation of the last sprint using the Legos. Once completed have each person show their creation (or if team members joined together have them show the joint creation) and let the other team members attempt to guess what the meaning of the creation is. Then have the creator(s) say what they really meant by their creation and allow any conversation that might come of that. Rinse and repeat with the other creator(s)

What I liked most about this one is it’s really different from your standard format and allows the team some serious creativity.

Here is an article where I originally got the idea though I don’t run it exactly like this article states.

I’m going to let others chime in on this thread first before I share more of my favorites. Will give me a good reason to come visit the site the next few days. :slight_smile:

Cheers and happy retroing


I like to do Two Truths and a Lie. I switch it to Two Truths and a Wish depending on the audience.


wow thanks everyone! This is a great list so far. I updated the OP


I’ve always wanted to try Two Truths and a Lie but never have found a good environment or way to use that one. Do you have an example of your use of this one you could share @Scrummando?


I like to us it break things up as something to break up the mainstream retrospectives or when the team needs something a little fun. It generates a lot of great discussions around incorrectly guessed lies (wish) that were truths. A lot of the lies are usually half-truths. So generating insights for further discussion happens more organically.
It does not translate well to a distributed team without video.


A few more

  1. Keep collaborating and nobody explodes:
  2. The Fear and Vulnerability retro:


I tried the Speed Car retrospective with my team and it was fairly simple. The team felt comfortable talking about what’s slowing them down and what’s putting them on a faster track to deliver a working product increment. It was good to gather the content with the focus on value being delivered.


Which one of these do you suggest that work well with virtual teams (half onshore half off)…?