DAKI Sprint Retrospective Format

Alex Vernik
Alex Vernik
Engineering Ops Specialist
Posted on
Mar 11, 2021
Updated on
Apr 13, 2023
Table of Content

"Reflection: looking back so that the view looking forward is even clearer". 

Taking the time to reflect on what's been working and what hasn't is essential for business progression. There are lots of methods of refinement and reflection; today we'll be looking at the DAKI sprint retrospective format. 

How to Run the DAKI Retrospective TL;DR

The DAKI sprint retrospective format is all about reflection and is an abbreviation of Drop, Add, Keep, and Improve

  • Drop: What can be left behind, isn’t working well, and should be dropped from upcoming sprints
  • Add: Which new ideas and innovative action plans should be added to keep up with changes, needs, and fill in for what has been dropped
  • Keep: These are things working well and should be kept during the course of a project.
  • Improve: Things that are already being done but can be tweaked to increase productivity and improve outcome/result.

What is the DAKI sprint retrospective?

Broadly, very much like "Open the Box Retrospective", it's a reflection technique for development teams to assess their recent projects/sprints for things that could have hindered them and possible future improvements. 

This retrospective format is a great way to identify specific behaviors, patterns, and activities that your dev team feels should be dropped, added, kept, or improved. This format is a great way to understand any differences in the perspectives of team members and help to get everyone on the same page. It can help your team to gain insight into how things can be improved or changed to re-energize your team and refocus your goals.

How to Run the DAKI Retrospective?

The following process can be done physically with cue cards, or virtually with an easy and organized online retrospective platform like GoRetro:


The first stage of the retrospective session is Drop, where the dev team gathers to discuss what just really didn't work, very much like in the more popular retrospective what went well. The team will take turns presenting issues they ran into from their unique perspectives and common patterns can begin to emerge for obvious tactics to drop next time. 


The second stage is a fun brainstorming portion where everyone shares their great ideas for the future. New techniques and innovations can be brought up and voted on, and new directions can begin to take shape for future sprints. 


The third stage should be used for general praise and acknowledgment of what's been working so far and who's responsible. This is a time to reflect on which actions and processes have played a fundamental role in the success of past ventures, or at least posed no hindrances.


A natural progression from stage three, this looks at things to keep in the toolkit, but with some modifications. Lots of visions/actions have potential but just need a little trial and error to pinpoint the tweaking and refinement needed in the future.

DAKI Sprint Retrospective Board
DAKI Sprint Retrospective Template

When Can the DAKI agile retrospective format be Used?

DAKI, along with most retrospective formats, is best used after a sprint. 

All processes/techniques have had time to play out in full and to collectively result in the final outcome. This is the best way to see what has worked and what hasn't without judging too soon. 

It's super helpful to look back at the beginning of the project and then to see the contrast at the end. This can really put things into perspective to clearly see what changed, so you can then look at why it changed that way. 

Once the team has had enough time (but not too much that they forget important feedback) to reflect on the progress and outcome of their efforts, it's a great time to gather and discuss everything.

How to Generally Use DAKI Format

The easiest and most trackable way to hold a retrospective format like DAKI is on an online collaborative board available for Free on GoRetro

Generally though, whether physical or virtual, the session would begin with a review of the goals going into the venture/sprint that has just finished to compare with its outcome. 

With that in mind, they can brainstorm their thoughts about why it is so. They'll jot down the aspects at play for its hindrances and triumphs, where their notes are then compiled with the others'. The notes are merged and placed into the Drop, Add, Keep, Improve categories. They're examined for majority votes and patterns. Members then confirm any absolute changes for next time and share praise and constructive feedback. 

These changes are logged and stored for the next project's planning stages and future Retros. 

How to Run A DAKI Retrospective In GoRetro

Running a DAKI retrospective is really easy in GoRetro. It's a user-friendly and multi-faceted web app made for the purpose of collaborative sprint retrospective boards including discussion, voting, commenting, and planning. 

Starting the retrospective begins with logging in and choosing a format template, in this case, the DAKI format, at which point you can invite teammates to join the board. 

Each member can privately brainstorm under each topic (so all perspectives are unbiased) and indicate when they're ready to submit it publicly. Merging is made easy with a drag-and-drop tool, with the final ideas made available to vote on digitally. 

Top votes can be discussed and examined through presentation options or open comment threads. Once some decisions are made, it's time to create action tasks and assign them action items!

Every stage is stored and can be reviewed and analyzed at any time, particularly for future Retros!

Who is this Retrospective Format for?

Retrospective formats are incredibly useful and relevant to anyone involved on the scrum team. Any members who play a role in project/product development benefit from reflecting on their work and exploring improvements. 

Anyone who took part has a relevant and unique perspective on the experience and should take part in the following discussions, and anyone who'll be involved in future sprints should also be there. 

Other participants could include project managers, partners, and customers whose feedback is important. 

Why Is this Retrospective Format Important?

This DAKI retrospective format clearly dissects the project into its vital parts and its dead weight. It allows each project to get better with each filtration process (the retrospective sessions) and can be seen as the ultimate trial and error manager.  

It also helps to identify all the different values and perspectives of each member involved and to understand the culture of the team, as well as see who shines with original ideas in the Adds portion of the session. It highlights patterns or isolated views, where the issue may lie in the individual's role/weaknesses rather than in methodology. 

The Keep section is a fantastic moment for praising and keeping team morale up. Sharing ideas and impressing peers is a great way to build motivation and investment. These discussions also make everyone feel bonded as one democratic team with individual voices.

DAKI Retrospective
DAKI Retrospective

Interested in other retrospective formats?

From "What Went Well" to "Starfish retrospective", "Sailboat retrospective" and more, GoRetro's offers a wide variety of retrospective templates.
Pick up the best template for your team or create your own retro board using our custom option.

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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