How a Facilitator can Ensure Success in Your Retrospective

by Scott Maxwell

How a Facilitator can Ensure Success in Your Retrospective

by Scott Maxwell

This is a part of a series that was cre­at­ed to help you get the prac­tice of ret­ro­spec­tives built into your com­pany.  This series will walk through the approach, nec­es­sary roles, in addi­tion to guides for each role to help your com­pany get started quickly.

Prior to Meetings

  • Meet with teams to determine last day of iteration for upcoming events that would lend selves to retrospectives.
  • Develop a calendar for retrospectives.
  • Establish meeting purpose and goal.
  • Invite all key participants.
  • Develop agenda.
  • Send meeting goal, agenda, and ground rules to all participants.
  • Reserve and prepare room for the meeting (white board, computer screen, flip chart, whiteboard markers, index cards, sticky notes, cards).

During the Meeting

  • Remind participants of ground rules.
  • Review agenda.
  • Conduct meeting
  • 25% of time allotted: What went well during iteration we are reviewing?
  • 25% of time allotted: What didn’t go well, and why
  • 50% of time allotted: Identify and prioritize three items to improve

Post Meeting

  • Summarize meeting
  • Distribute meeting summary to all team members and executive team or sponsor
  • Follow up to ensure improvement suggestions are being implemented

Next week, I will dis­cuss the importance of the facilitator’s role when planning and leading the retrospective.


Scott Maxwell founded OpenView Venture Partners in 2006 and has worked in venture capital for over 13 years. He focuses on distinctive business models and products that uniquely address a meaningful market pain point. This includes a broad interest...

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