5 Development Retrospective Questions to Have Great Discussions

If you work in a Scrum team, you are familiar with a retrospective. For the people who aren’t, let me explain it in short.

In the Agile framework Scrum, we have a couple of events. One of them is the retrospective during which we watch back our sprint. A sprint can be a period of a few weeks (in my team, it’s two weeks). In those weeks, we commit ourselves to a set of user stories. Those user stories define what we have to build.

During the retrospective, we check how we performed as a team. Did we do our work well? Did we deliver our work on time? Did we have a great collaboration?

The Scrum leader guides the team to have an effective retro meeting. Most of the time, the Scrum leader prepares how we do the retrospective. There are multiple ways to do this. One way is by answering questions as a team.

In this article, I want to give you five questions that will lead to useful discussions to improve your development team’s retrospectives.

1. What Were Our Strengths?

I’ve seen it a lot! Doing a proper retrospective is not all about discovering the negative things — or rather what can be improved.

Let’s focus a part of the retrospective on the things we did well!

That will make sure everyone feels empowered right away.

If you throw this question to your team, you will find that everyone has a different view of what went well.

2. What Were Our Biggest Obstacles?

It’s also good to talk about the sprint’s obstacles.

In this case, I don’t mean what we did wrong as a team! I mean, what happened that the team didn’t know before? You know, unexpected things.

Sometimes, production issues pop up out of nowhere.

My team and I experienced that last week! It was a disaster, but it was only because the users started using new features we just introduced.

So the lesson was to prepare some time to stay on standby if new features go into production.

But sometimes, the obstacles come from outside the team. It’s important to talk about that with each other.

3. How Can We Improve Our Code Quality?

For most developers, code quality is a serious thing.

But instead of checking what kind of ugly code we have in our applications, we should think about how we can improve the code.

Yes, you probably have tools and systems in place.

But I know for sure you and your team can come up with some very simple improvements — things that don’t cost a lot of time.

That’s why I think it’s a good idea to spend some time during one of your retrospective meetings on code quality. We all want to write readable code in our applications.

4. Who Helped You During This Sprint?

Let’s spend some time on the human part of the development team. We are developers (sorry if you’re not, but you’re probably working with some) who focus on the technical aspect of our job.

Being a developer in a team is so much more than only the technical part. We have to collaborate and communicate with each other.

Spending time to offer some appreciation to one of your team members can be useful for team bonding. Just say that it felt incredible when a teammate helped you out with a difficult task.

Everyone needs a compliment — no matter how good you are as a developer. It will brighten someone’s day!

5. How Can We Improve Our Retrospectives?

I think retrospectives are vital for a development team. And it is just as important for a team to determine how they can improve their retrospectives.

There are many approaches available on the web:

I like one where the Scrum leader selects a few questions to bring to the team to discuss. Document this. It’s always good to look back at what you have discussed with the team.

Conclusion

I hope this article will help you and your team have better retrospectives. When a retrospective has the right ingredients and the proper discussions, we grow as a team.

Do you want more inspiration for questions? Receive another 10 in your mailbox for free 😃

If you have some additional tips or questions, feel free to add them in the comments.

Happy coding! 🚀