5 Myths About Retrospective Meetings

Alex Vernik
Alex Vernik
Engineering Ops Specialist
Posted on
Dec 24, 2020
Updated on
Mar 16, 2023
Table of Content

Dev teams hold sprint retrospectives to plan for and organize an upcoming sprint, or to review a past sprint and see what went right or wrong. Retrospective meetings are incredibly helpful for a development team, as they provide insight into what the team could accomplish. Done correctly, these meetings can be extremely useful and a great way to get everyone on the same page about the development of a product.

A lot can be said for retrospective meetings, but not all of what you hear is true. There are some common misconceptions, or “myths” about retrospective meetings that many people still believe. In this article we are going to look at 5 myths about retrospective meetings and set the record straight. After all, you can’t always believe what you hear.

5 Common Myths bout Retrospective Meetings:

Retrospective meetings should be formal and follow a strict agenda

While this is an important meeting for your team, it is not necessary to be formal and only stick to the specific agenda outlined before the meeting. Retrospectives can take many forms. Some are more formal and involve the Scrum master (or project leader) leading all discussions and going through a specific agenda. However, some retrospectives are more laid back and involve open discussions with the whole team.

Retrospective meetings should only be held right after / before a sprint

When it comes to the question of when is a sprint retrospective meeting held, the common answer is that these meetings should only be held right after a sprint or right before a new one. While these are both important times to hold a retrospective meeting, these are not the only times they should be held. Checking in with your team every once in a while is important and can be done on a weekly or even daily basis.

Retrospectives should only talk about what went well in a past sprint or to plan for the next one

The main topic of a retrospective meeting is usually what went well and what didn't. However, this meeting can also be used as a space to discuss current processes with the team, to celebrate any wins, to talk about strengths of team members as well as things they should work towards. Retrospectives are a great forum for many things and shouldn’t be only confined to discussing sprints.

Only one person (the Scrum Master) runs the meeting

While the Scrum Master is usually the one that oversees these meetings and makes sure that each topic on the agenda is covered, there are sometimes open-forum     retrospectives where everyone gets to share a little bit about what they think is important. Allowing everyone to get a say in the topics they believe are important is very helpful when trying to keep everyone engaged and motivated.

Retrospective meetings are serious and boring

This is just simply not true! Retrospective meetings can be a lot of fun depending on how they are laid out and executed. Some meetings can include great activities, such as the constellation retrospective or remember the future retro game, and team building games which are a great way to keep everyone motivated and engaged while still getting important things done. Your team members can enjoy the fun of the activities while still engaging and participating in the meeting and being productive.

Retrospective meetings are an excellent way to understand what works for sprints and what does not, as well as to plan for an upcoming sprint. They are important meetings that all development teams should hold. However, many of the ideas that people have about these meetings are misleading and untrue.

Now that you’ve seen these myths and why they are not true, you are able to understand a bit more about how a retrospective is run. After debunking these myths, you should hopefully have a bit more of an understanding of the retrospective meetings and are able to enjoy them more and run them accordingly.

About the author

Alex Vernik
Engineering Ops Specialist

Engineering leader, passionate about coding products and value creation. Vast experience with managing R&D teams at various scales. Embracing innovation and transformation for constant improvement.

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