Retrospective: Liked, Learned, Lacked and Longed For

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Format: Liked, Learned, Lacked and Longed for

During this retrospective, we will not only look at the positives and improvements from the last sprint, but we will also look at missing things and new things to add to the team’s way of working. This format is a combination of a classic sprint retrospective and a futurespective.

The Icebreaker

The icebreaker of the Liked, Learned, Lacked and Longed for retrospective is a quick as easy one: how do you feel about the last sprint? Ask everybody to quickly put a dot vote on the emotion that corresponds with their feeling of the last sprint. 

The goal is to quickly know how the general feeling about the last sprint was, so you can include this sentiment in the remaining of the retrospective. You don’t have to go in too much detail yet, since this will be part of the next part of the retrospective.

The retrospective format

The Liked, Learned, Lacked and Longed for retrospective contains 4 stages:

  1. “Liked: “ what did you like during the last sprint? What went really well, or perhaps surprised you?
  2. “Learned: “ what did you learn in the last sprint? This can be either something about the project or a technology, or about a team member or the team’s way of working.
  3. “Lacked: “ what was missing last sprint, and would have helped?
  4. “Longed for: “ what did you long for in the last sprint (or perhaps longer)? What did you wish existing or was possible?

While having the discussion on a topic, always focus on what’s within the control of the team. Don’t focus too much on external people or factors, but mainly on the things that are within the control of the team to identify improvement actions that the team is able to take. You want to have 1 – 2 action items at the end of the retrospective that you can implement in the next iteration(s). Remember: you will not always have big live changing action items in each retrospective. That’s also not the intention. A small action that brings a small improvements is already very good. Try to improve a little each sprint instead of trying to bring big changes at once.

About last retrospective...

A crucial part of the retrospective is to reflect on the outcome of the previous one! Teams often forget to do this, but it is very important as it gives the team the confirmation that the action items are actually important… And that we want to make sure we improve! There is a section on the top of the template where you can refer to the action items of the last retrospective. Go over them, see how you are doing in regards to them, and decide what to do next.

Rate your retro!

At the very end of the retrospective, I ask the team to quickly rate their retrospective with focus on: 

  1. Did we have a good discussion? Did we speak openly, and respect each others opinion?
  2. Do we have valuable action items? And, are we confident that we will do them in the next sprint?

To continu in the theme of this retrospective, we ask everybody to indicate how they feel about the retrospective based on one of the three emotions. We also have a “feedback wall” where participants can give additional feedback, so we can incorporate it into the next retrospective.

Other things about the format

On the very top of the format, you can see 2 elements:

  • Action items / experiments: this is the place where you would write down the action items during the retrospective. This makes it easy to summarize them at the end of the session.
  • Idea for the next retrospective: I always like to foresee an area where people can give feedback or give input for the next retrospective. This can be feedback on the current format, ideas for a new format, tips, general feedback… Anything that can help us make the next retrospective even better! I would not make it required for people to give input in this, make them feel free to give input when they come up with something.

Download the template (for free)

You can download the Miro template for free below:

If you don’t have a premium version of Miro, you can also download the picture at the top of the screen and create the board in Google Drawings.


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