The 5 Steps of a Retrospective is a technique to facilitate a team to inspect its way of work and to identify actions to make it better.


A retrospective is a ritual gathering of a community at the end of a project to review the events and learn from the experience. No one knows the whole story of the project. Each person has a piece of the story. The retrospective ritual is the collective telling of the story and mining the experience for wisdom.

First, set the stage

  • The setting should be such that regardless of what we discover, we understand that everyone did the best job he or she could.

Second, gather data.

  • This is often done by looking back and identifying what went well and what did not.

Third, Generate insights.

  • In this phase, teams typically identify why things happened and what should be done more, done less and tried out.

Fourth, decide what to do.

  • This includes deciding on specific, meaningful, agreed and realistic actions that will be done in the next Sprint.

Fifth, close the retrospective.

There are several techniques to actually do the steps above. See Retrospective Techniques and Retr-O-Mat,


Hints and Tips

  • Include everyone who has a piece of the story to tell.
  • Schedule adequate time to tell the story. A rushed ritual will do more harm than good.
  • Make sure there is a facilitator, someone who was not involved with the project, to lead the ritual.


  • Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great. By Esther Derby and Diana Larsen. Pragmatic Programmers, 2006. hier bei amazon
  • Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews. By Norman Kerth.
  • Retr-O-Mat: 

Is included in

Techniques for Agility
This page contains a collection of techniques that are often used in conjunction with Scrum.