Race Car Retrospective

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Sep 22, 2022
Updated on
Mar 26, 2023
Table of Content

What Is the Race Car retrospective?

The Race Car retrospective is a creative way to look back at what a Scrum Team did during the most recent Sprint. It is one of many retrospective formats that a Scrum Master has at their disposal to make retrospective meetings more interesting and productive for the team.

How to run the Race Car retrospective

The Race Car retrospective format is relatively simple to implement and easy to understand. This is because the board split into only two logical columns.

The board will be set up as follows:

Engine: What were the factors that propelled the team’s performance forward during the Sprint? I.e. What were the positive driving factors; these can include physical, strategic or personal factors.

Parachute: What were the factors that slowed the team’s progress down during the Sprint? These include anything that would have stopped or slowed the team down from achieving their goal.

The team will share their opinions and fill in the columns with items that they think should be there. Then the team will comment and vote on which items are most important/prevalent and start designing action items for the next Sprint.

When should the Race Car retrospective be used?

Because the Race Car retrospective format is so straightforward and quick to execute, it can be done as its own short meeting or even as an introduction to another meeting. The concepts are also easy to grasp so it should be accessible for everyone in a meeting regardless of the experience levels of those attending the meeting.

However, because the Race Car retrospective is focused on the rate of progress (whether it’s fast or slow) it can be particularly insightful for teams who are trying to measure their sprint velocity in order to fix a problem.

What are the benefits of the Race Car retrospective?

The Race Car retrospective offers many benefits:

  1. It’s easy to understand. Compared to other retrospective formats the Race Car retrospective doesn’t require previous knowledge or that much prep time for the attendees. This is because the columns are based on concepts, not specifics.
  2. It’s quick. Being limited to two columns means this retrospective activity gets finished noticeably earlier than other formats, which helps keep the attendees engaged and present but can also make time for other talking points of the meeting.
  3. It’s different. As a Scrum Master or Agile lead, you should always look to rotate the activities that you give your team. This will prevent them from having pre-learned talking points and generic feedback. Throwing a new activity like the relatively unknown Race Car retrospective can ensure that your team constantly has new perspectives and thinks about new angles.

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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