Understanding Scrum Retrospective

We all are aware of the fact that Scrum comes in handy in many Agile frameworks. Scrum is a framework based on empirical process control where self-organizing and cross-functional teams deliver potentially shippable product increments every sprint (which is a 2-4 week timeframe).

Scrum has three roles mainly and a few events and Scrum Retrospective is one of the most important events of the Scrum methodology.

The literal meaning of retrospective is – “a survey or review of a past course of events or period of time.” And believe me, this activity is the same in every sense. According to the Scrum guide - The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Scrum Team to inspect itself and create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next sprint.

Let me explain this – in a Scrum framework, this retrospection comes after a Sprint Review event. This meeting is an opportunity for the Scrum team to inspect itself and learn what went wrong and what can be improved and create a plan of improvements to be enacted during the next sprint.

There are mainly 3 questions every team member needs to ask.

  1. What worked well?
  2. What didn’t work well?
  3. What can be improved?

This activity gives the team a moment to think about themselves, to be proactive, and keep themselves motivated, and appreciate their work because Scrum is not only always about the product but also the team too. Since the Scrum team needs to be cross-functional and self-organizing, they need to understand or learn if required for the better execution of the sprints coming.

The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to,

  • Inspect how the sprint went with regard to process, tools, and people.
  • Identify items that went well and potential improvements.
  • Create an action plan for improvements to the way the Scrum team is working.

The following are some short ways of understanding it,

  • Who - The Scrum team is responsible for this event as a whole but the Scrum master is responsible for managing this event.
  • When – This happens at the end of the sprint, after Sprint Review.
  • Time – Box – Ideally, it should be 3 hours for a one month sprint (usually shorter for Shorter Sprints)
  • Inputs – Improvements/Action Items that will be implanted in the next sprint.


The Scrum Master ensures that the event takes place and the attendees understand its purpose.

To summarize the above, Scrum Retrospective is an important event which takes place in the Scrum Framework to inspect the improvement areas and create some action plan to overcome what’s missing to make the product successful.

Happy learning!!