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Where Does Retrospective Fit in Scrum?

Alex Vernik
Engineering Ops Specialist
Posted on
Oct 1, 2020
Updated on
Dec 25, 2021
Table of Content

In the world of development, a team must work together to get the best results available. This entails meetings, check-ins, and sharing ideas with other team members. Essentially, every development team should be using Scrum. A scrum is a framework that is used to develop and deliver ideas and products. It is made up of meetings, tools, and roles to allow teams to set up and structure their work.

There are several stages to a scrum, all of which are very important. However, here we are going to discuss the sprint retrospective. In order to give you an idea of where an agile retrospective fits in a scrum, first we will discuss what a sprint is. Then we will take a look at what a retrospective is and why it is used. Finally, we will look at where it fits in a scrum.

What is a Sprint?

Put simply, a sprint is a period of time in which a development team works together to complete a set amount of work. Essentially, it is a set of goals that have been discussed and agreed upon and a team works to accomplish them within a set amount of time.

Each sprint holds new goals, though some may carry over from the previous sprint. These goals are what a development team wishes to accomplish over the next set period of time. The time allotted is usually anywhere between one and four weeks, depending on the difficulty of the goals and the team’s abilities.

What is a Retrospective?

A sprint retrospective is, essentially, a short meeting that takes a look at a previous sprint or helps to plan for an upcoming sprint. The purpose of a retrospective meeting is to take a look at how the last sprint went. In a retrospective, you want to take a look at the things that went well and why they went well, along with looking at things that can be improved. Also, retrospectives can be used for creating a plan to implement the improvements for the upcoming sprint. A retrospective should encourage a team to improve its development process and make it more efficient and effective in the following sprint. So when does this happen in a Scrum?

Where Does a Sprint Retrospective Fit in a Scrum?

Typically, a sprint retrospective takes place after the sprint review and before the next sprint planning. It falls into this place because the main goal is to identify the areas in which the sprint can improve, and these must be discussed after a complete review of the prior sprint has taken place and, of course, before the planning meeting for the next sprint happens. In order to know what needs improvement, the team must first go over all of the points of the previous sprint and get a general picture of how it went. Then, before beginning to plan for the next sprint, they must take a look at what can be made better and really understand what it is that needs improving.

When running a retrospective meeting, the Scrum Master leads the entire team through a discussion that involves everyone and is productive and positive.  The idea is to create an environment where the team feels free to open up and discuss what went on in the previous sprint, as well as what can be done to improve the next one. This is why the retrospective is placed where it is in the Scrum. It is very important and necessary for a team to continue to build and grow together and should be held at the right time in order to do so.

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