After completing a project, it's standard procedure for teams to meet together, discuss the work process, and determine how to optimize it for upcoming projects.
In this article, we're going to show you how to create the most comprehensive retrospective meeting agenda template, but first, let's take a look at a few important terminologies, what a retrospective meeting entails, and how to conduct it successfully.
Feel free to skip ahead to any section in the article:
What is a retrospective meeting?
A retrospective meeting is held at the end of a project for team members to reflect on the work process and find out which aspects they need to improve in future projects.
This is slightly different than the sprint retrospective meeting.
What is a sprint retrospective meeting?
A sprint retrospective meeting is held at the end of sprints or iterations, which are short time periods determined for the team to achieve small goals in the project.
These sprints make it easier for team members to manage their time and work on attainable objectives as building blocks of the final project.
Sometimes, you might hear the term "agile" when talking about retrospective meetings.
What is a retrospective meeting in Agile?
An Agile retrospective meeting is another term for a sprint retrospective meeting that takes place after each sprint in Agile development software.
In the same context, the word "Scrum" often comes up.
What is retrospective meeting Scrum?
Retrospective meeting Scrum is affiliated with Agile in project management, where a team works in sprints and conducts daily meetings to voice any concerns about the project.
The meetings are coordinated by the Scrum master to maintain the pace of the meeting, address any hurdles in the project, and keep people on track with the meeting's objectives.
Scrum includes (1) outlining assignments, (2) writing a backlog list, (3) sprint planning, (4) conducting daily Scrum meetings, and (5) performing a sprint review.
Notice the difference between these two!
What are sprint planning meeting and sprint review?
A sprint planning meeting is conducted to address the backlog list that the team should work on in the next sprint. It's a way for team members to collaborate and voice their opinions about the upcoming tasks and determine which tasks to work on next.
On the other hand, a sprint review is when the team meets together to check the completed work in the last sprint and see if they need to implement any changes.
Then, how is a sprint review unlike the retrospective meeting?
What is the difference between a sprint review and a retrospective meeting?
While a sprint review is held after each sprint, a retrospective meeting is conducted after the whole project is finished and delivered to the client.
Another major difference is that a sprint review is merely a presentation for the team to check the completed tasks in the sprint, while the retrospective meeting is an opportunity to improve the work process and pinpoint what went well and what went wrong to enhance team performance.
To optimize retrospective meetings, it's important to create a well-structured retrospective meeting agenda template as a guide to gain the maximum benefit from the meeting. Read on to find out why you should use a retrospective meeting agenda template.
What is the purpose of a retrospective meeting agenda template?
The retrospective meeting agenda template should include actionable items that help the team avoid past mistakes done in the project. It helps facilitate the flow of the retrospective meeting and avoid wasting the team's valuable time.
What are the 3 retrospective questions?
What did we do well in the project?
What didn't we do well in the project?
How can we improve our process in future projects?
These three questions are the building blocks of retrospective meetings. Answering them delivers the optimum outcomes from the meeting, so make sure to include them in your retrospective meeting agenda template.
To create a comprehensive retrospective meeting agenda template, you must get acquainted with the ins and outs of a retrospective meeting, so let's take a look at the best practices of hosting a retrospective meeting.
How do you speak in a retrospective meeting?
Speak honestly with the team and make them feel comfortable to encourage them to voice their opinions freely. A retrospective meeting should be a safe space for your team to discuss what went wrong and how to improve these actions in the future.
Highlight the retrospective meeting objectives and why it's important to answer the three questions previously mentioned in this article. While it may seem repetitive when done every meeting, this brief speech will give the team a boost of confidence to spark up a lively conversation about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the last project.
Give the team a chance to talk about their concerns and take notes of all the things they faced during the project.
Your team needs to know you'll take real actions toward improving the work environment for them in terms of resources, tools, training materials, and anything they might need to avoid past problems.
Ask your team to suggest action items to implement in the upcoming projects. This is the perfect opportunity for them to practice their autonomy in their work and determine for themselves which aspects should be different in the next project.
Screenshot from adam.ai: Sharing action items on other apps
Allowing your team to speak up at the retrospective meeting is the best outcome you could ask for. To be a good facilitator in the meeting, keep the aforementioned tips in mind when creating a retrospective meeting agenda template.
💡Pro Tip. Use all-in-one meeting management software, like adam.ai, to conduct an effective retrospective meeting, take notes and manage action items at the end of the meeting, automatically generate meeting minutes, and share the retrospective meeting agenda template with your team.
Here's how you can use the duplicate meeting feature to repeat the same structure of recurring sprint retrospective meetings for easy access:
You can also link previous sprint meetings like sprint planning meeting, sprint reviews, and sprint retrospectives with all your future meetings:
Screenshot from adam.ai: Link series meetings
Already using a bunch of apps to manage your meetings? No worries; check out this video to find out which apps can be integrated with adam.ai to use them all in one platform:
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How do you structure a retrospective?
Determine the main theme of the retrospective.
Mention the project's highlights and memorable sprints during the project.
Analyze these highlights to come up with work patterns.
Create an action plan to optimize the work process and eliminate time-consuming, faulty patterns.
Wrap up the meeting.
These simple five steps are the main points to be included in your retrospective meeting agenda template and followed precisely in your meeting.
💡Pro Tip. Use the meeting agenda timer feature in adam.ai to schedule a specific time for each of the five steps in the retrospective meeting.
Screenshot from adam.ai: The meeting agenda timer
Screenshot from adam.ai: Integration with Google Calendar
Take advantage of the decisions tile where you can add decisions during the meeting and let the team vote on them. This will make your team feel that their opinions matter as they contribute to decision-making.
Screenshot from adam.ai: Managing your decisions
How long should a retrospective meeting last?
A sprint retrospective meeting is usually held every couple of weeks for an average of an hour and a half. Some teams meet up every week for 45 minutes depending on the sprint's length.
A retrospective meeting after project completion takes a lot longer with the maximum being 3-4 hours.
That being said, bear in mind that having too many meetings is the number one time-wasting factor for teams.
According to the Harvard Business Review, a staggering 71% of senior managers said that "meetings are unproductive and inefficient."
The professionals at HBR even call it "the meeting madness" and urge managers to "establish a clear agenda...because meetings affect how people collaborate and how they get their work done."
This emphasizes the need for a comprehensive retrospective meeting agenda template to save valuable time that could be better spent on the project's development.
All in all, you need to find the perfect balance between having too many retrospectives and not having enough:
What happens when you have too many sprint retrospective meetings?
1. There's no significant time between meetings to track progress and witness an improvement in the work process. Your team needs enough time to implement changes discussed in previous sprint retrospectives to see if they made a difference.
2. Team members will lose interest in the meeting as they feel they could spend their time doing more meaningful contributions to the project, which affects productivity and team morale.
3. The team may be spending too much time reviewing ongoing sprints instead of working on them. It's important to find the right balance between actual work and sprint retrospectives to generate relevant insights.
What happens when you don't have enough sprint retrospective meetings?
1. Minor issues in the work process will be overlooked as there will only be time to address broad concepts without focusing on the details that may be the cause of the major problems in the first place.
2. Team members will feel frustrated as they have to deal with issues on their own without addressing them head-on in regular meetings.
3. Your team will lose the sense of togetherness and collaboration as each member feels isolated while working remotely. Having one retrospective every quarter is not enough to build social connections and reflect on the work process.
How to conduct retrospective meetings online?
Since remote work is on the rise, it's only logical to resort to multiple apps to manage your meetings. Here are a few options you might be using right now:
2. Google Drive: a shared document platform to ensure everyone working on the project has access to important files.
3. Google Calendar: a place to schedule all project-related meetings.
5. Trello: a work management tool to stay on track with assignments.
6. Zoom: a video conferencing platform to conduct your meetings.
With adam.ai, you can choose to integrate with the aforementioned communication tools, all from one place. You'll also be able to chat privately or publicly with the attendees and upload, share, and transcribe audio files.
Check out these 32 productivity tools for remote-working teams that will make your life a lot easier.
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What is a retrospective meeting agenda?
A retrospective meeting agenda is a structure that guides you through your talking points in the meeting and helps you stick to the meeting schedule.
Without a meeting agenda, you'll be risking adding more time to an already long meeting and going off-topic. Having meeting agenda templates that you can customize according to your company's needs can save a lot of time and effort when preparing for your meetings.
When creating your retrospective meeting agenda template, start with the basic three questions we mentioned earlier. The whole idea of a retrospective is to know what procedures should the team continue doing, which ones to stop, and which changes to start implementing.
Let's take a look at a few tips for your retrospective meeting agenda:
Start your meeting on a positive note by listing all the positive aspects done in the project. People are more likely to accept feedback when you commend them on their hard work.
Mention the main issues of the project and give the team a chance to discuss what went wrong. Take notes of their concerns to analyze the problems and create action items to resolve them.
Ask the team to prepare for the meeting by writing down their concerns and share the retrospective meeting agenda template with them. This will help them prepare themselves mentally and participate actively in the discussion.
Summarize the outcomes of the meeting by compiling feedback and listing action items keeping the three questions in mind.
💡Pro Tip. Use a meeting agenda template and customize it according to your meeting objectives to save time and effort. Don't forget to send a thank you mail after the meeting is finished; it has a positive effect on attendees and enhances meeting productivity.
Check out how to create a meeting agenda for effective meetings from this video:
Retrospective meeting agenda template
Download the retrospective meeting agenda template to conduct a well-structured retrospective meeting.
More meeting agenda templates
You can also find a list of other useful meetings agenda templates on our blog, which can guide you to hold effective meetings:
The bottom line
To create a well-rounded retrospective meeting agenda template, you need to learn the ins and outs of retrospective meetings. In this article, we covered everything you need to know about retrospective meetings whether after sprints or project delivery.
We encourage you to use the tips outlined here to guide you when customizing your template to fit your organization's needs.
Use all-in-one meeting management software to avoid the distractions of jumping from one tool to another and for easy access of having your schedules, documents, chats, and the meeting itself on one platform.
Here are a few reasons to choose adam.ai:
adam.ai is ranked a leader in the meeting management software category by G2 for both quarters, Summer 2021 and Winter 2021.
adam.ai has been included in the Forrester Report in the AI-enabled meeting technology landscape.
adam.ai is trusted and used by powerful teams worldwide from Johns Hopkins University, The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), Microsoft, and other renowned organizations.
And most importantly, adam.ai integrates with your existing workflow, provides a free plan for life for small teams, and is the most affordable tool for larger teams (starts at $4.99).