Summary: Inspection and adaption related to the process and environment.
Participants: Team, Scrum Master, Product Owner (optional). Other stakeholders may be invited by the Team, but are not otherwise allowed to attend.
Duration: Timeboxed to 45 minutes per week of Sprint.
The Sprint Review involves inspect and adapt regarding the product. The Sprint Retrospective, which follows the Review, involves inspect and adapt regarding the process and environment. It’s an opportunity for the Team to discuss what’s working and what’s not working, and agree on changes to try. Sometimes the Scrum Master can act as an effective facilitator for the Retrospective, but it may be better to find a neutral outsider to facilitate the meeting; a good approach is for Scrum Masters to facilitate each others’ retrospectives, which enables cross-pollination among Teams.
There are many techniques for conducting a Sprint Retrospective, and the book Agile Retrospectives (Derby, Larsen 2006) provides a useful catalogue of techniques.
Many teams hold retrospectives only focusing on problems, and that’s too bad. It can lead to people thinking of retrospectives as somewhat depressing or negative events. Instead, ensure that every Retrospective also focus on positives or strengths; there are several books on appreciative inquiry that offer more detailed tips.
Retrospectives that always use the same technique of analysis may become boring; therefore, introduce various techniques over time.