Remote Sprint Retrospective format for Work From Home Dev Teams

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Jul 30, 2020
Updated on
Apr 20, 2023
Table of Content

A remote sprint retrospective is exactly what it sounds like: a remote friendly variation of a retrospective meeting. It can be done virtually with the use of a video conferencing tool. The goal of these virtual meetings is to reflect on what the team has done so far and determine how to improve upon this for the next sprint. 

How to run a remote retrospective?

A remote retrospective can be run by:

●      Tracking attendance and engagement: The entire team must take part in a remote retrospective for it to be successful. Ensuring everyone is engaged and present is key to running a remote retrospective.

●      Review work completed: Most of the time in a remote retrospective should be spent in discussion. A quick review of the past sprint should be given at the beginning of the meeting to remind everyone of what was accomplished in the past sprint.

●      Discuss: This should be most of the meeting. It can be very open-ended, as long as everyone participates, and the goals are met.

●      Actionable commitments: This is the main goal of a remote retrospective. The team should come up with actionable ideas for the next iteration, deriving from the previous iteration. The team should discuss what can be done to improve the next sprint and put that into measurable actions to implement.

Remote retrospectives are easy to run if everyone is engaged and participating. The main goal is to review the past iteration and discuss what can be improved for the next one.

When is the Remote Agile Retrospective used?

This retrospective for remote teams, like most retrospective formats,  should either be used at the end of one sprint, or right before the beginning of a new one. This ensures that memories of the previous iteration are still fresh in all of your teammate’s memories, and they have an opportunity to fix any issues from the previous sprint before starting the new one. 

How to Make the Most of a Remote Sprint Retrospective?

The point of a dev team retrospective meeting is to look at the past sprint, figure out what worked and what didn’t, and come up with ideas for the next sprint. By creating a plan for your retrospective meeting and sticking to it, your team should be able to come up with some good ideas and create an action plan for upcoming sprints. 

It is imperative to have an agenda before the start of a meeting. Why? Well, because if you don’t know what topics need to be covered and how much time you have, then your retro meet could possibly be a waste of time. You must know what needs to be done in order to do it. 

Also, giving everyone a task can be incredibly helpful. Especially during remote retrospectives because everyone will be engaged and participating which makes for a productive meeting.

Remote Retrospective
Remote Retrospective

Awesome Retrospective Ideas for Remote Teams

These fun retrospective ideas included below are our favorites for remote development teams:

Start-stop-Continue Retrospective

The Start-Stop-Continue Retrospective is a popular fun retrospective idea for remote teams where every team member,  from the comfort of his/her own "home office", writes down the things he/she should start doing in the next sprint, as well as the things to stop doing and the ones to keep. For more information check out our review of the Start-Stop-Continue template.

Three Little Pigs Retrospective

The Three Little Pigs Retrospective takes advantage of the classic story of the three pigs, and uses the morals learned by each swine in flight to direct development teams to improve their processes and optimize performance. Remote teams can take advantage of this format using GoRetro, and ensure that their next sprint goes smoothly. 

Pirate Ship Retrospective

The Pirate Ship Retrospective, also called the Sailboat retrospective, is a fun retrospective idea remote teams can use to visualize their successes and challenges. By allowing team members to label different features in their interactive template, the team can realize what has helped, and what has hindered their development process. 

Retrospective Prime Directive

The Retrospective Prime Directive is a template for remote development teams that is derived from some of the lessons and ethics present in Star Trek. Norm Kerth, an established Agile consultant, has a famous quote about respecting your teammates skills, and this eventually developed into this retrospective template. Learn more, here! 

Remember The Future Retrospective 

The Remember the Future Retrospective is a fun retrospective idea for remote teams who want to look ahead, and then think backwards to create their ideal sprint plan. You can think of the Remember the Future retrospective as that friend who always started at the end of the maze. By focusing on what they would like to achieve, the team can hammer down on the specific actions they’ll need to achieve those goals. 

Why Should You Start Running Remote Sprint Retrospectives Now?

By giving your team the chance to meet from the safety of their own homes, you are giving your company a chance to continue to progress despite the resurgence of Covid infections, and the uncertainty of physical work in this new, post-pandemic dystopia. Remote retrospectives can be just as productive as in-person retrospectives and can be done from the comfort of your home office without any of the risk of getting sick that an in-person retrospective carries. 

Run Productive Remote Retrospectives with GoRetro

GoRetro is an online retrospective tool  that gives your teams the option to run productive, effective and fun retrospective meetings for free! Invite as many teammates as you need, pick the template that works best for your team, and get to work! By using GoRetro to complete your team’s retros, you’ll be ensuring your teammates remain entertained, engaged, and committed to your shared goals.

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

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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