Retrospective: Love, Want, Hate & Learn

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Format: Love, Want, Hate and Learn

The Love, Want, Hate and Learn retrospective is a format that enables you to reflect on both the last iteration as well as on the bigger picture. Team members can chose to write down things they loved, hated and learned during the last iteration and something they want for the next sprint. 

However, with this format you can also chose to focus on the longer term. Team members can share what they love or hate about the team, project, customer and environment as well as something they want for the future and something (unique) that they have learned by working in this team, for the current customer, in the current environment. 

You can decide up front if you want to focus on the last iteration, the bigger picture or combine the two. It’s good to think about this up front so you can give the right focus during the sprint retrospective.

The Icebreaker

The icebreaker is a quick “how did you feel about the last sprint” one. To continue in the theme, ask everybody to indicate on the board if they hated or loved the last sprint, or something in between.

The goal is not to go into a detailed discussion on the results, but just to get a quick grasp on how the team experienced the last sprint. This gives you good input about how the team is currently feeling and how they will be participating in this retrospective.

So, after everybody shared how they felt about the last iteration, optionally (very quickly) summarize the outcome and move on to the next step of the retrospective.

The retrospective format

As already mentioned, this format contains 4 stages:

  1. “Love”
    1. What did you love about the last sprint? What was really amazing?
    2. What do you love about our team, project, customer and/or current working environment?
  2. “Want”:
    1. What do you want in the next sprint? This can be something new, an experiment, something you have been missing in the previous sprint(s)…
    2. What do you want for our team, project, customer and/or working enrivonment? This can be something for the short term, or also something that must be achieved on a long(er) term.
  3. “Hate”:
    1. What did you hate during the last sprint? What was absolutely horrible?
    2. What do you have (or dislike) about our team, project, customer and/or working environment? What frustrates you regularly? 
  4. “Learn”:
    1. What have you learned during the last sprint?
    2. What have you already learned from our team, project, customer and/or working environment that was valuable for you?

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. Even if team member write down things they hate about the customer or people/situations outside of the team, try to focus on what the team can do to improve the situation, even if it’s just a tiny improvement.

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, ask everybody to share how they feel about this retrospective. Do they feel hate, or is it all love? 

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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