Retrospective: The Holiday Retro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Theme: Summer Holiday

Nice tans or sunburns? Maybe someone spotted an ice cream truck… What better way to enter the summer season than with a summer retrospective format! 

The Icebreaker

To get everybody in the mood for this retrospective, the icebreaker is a fun exercise that also helps to get to know your colleagues a bit better. Ask everybody in the team to share their favorite kind of holiday with the team. This can be done using images, writing something on a post-it, or just sharing it with the group. 

The goal of this icebreaker is to get everybody engaged and present in the retrospective, making sure they are no longer distracted by other work that is going on.

The retrospective format

After the icebreaker, we can go into the actual exercise. This format contains 3 stages:

  • “Nice tan man!”: What was nice in the last sprint? What should we be proud of?
  • “I should’ve used some sun screen…”: What did we overlook in the last sprint? What came unexpected, or hurt us?
  • “Yes, I see an ice cream truck!”: Which opportunities do we see? Where do we see room for improvement?

As always, ask your team members to write down the topics that they want to discuss in this retrospective. It’s good if everybody can at least write down one topic per stage, but this will not always be possible for  everybody. You can ask for it, and see if this is possible. I usually put on a timebox of a few minutes and continu when everybody is ready. If your team members tend to write down a lot of topics, you might want to limit the amount to 3-4 per person. 

After the timebox, quickly read through the post-its to make sure the content is clear for everybody. If you have a lot of topics (too much to discuss in this session), do a quick dot voting session and start with the topics that has the most vots. If you are using Miro, you can use the built in Timer and Dot Voting tools.

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 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?


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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