We’re crazy about all things agile, but there’s just something special about retrospectives. Retrospectives are driven by the team, self-organizing and self-managing to improve its own execution. Any team, regardless of their level of Agility, can use retrospectives to improve.

Because we love ‘em so much, we rounded up the Top 10 agile retrospective templates and techniques you can use to continuously improve (all available in Instant Agenda!). We recommend you change up your template at the end of every sprint, because doing so gets the team thinking about their work in new ways and can often prompt new insights. If nothing else – it’s fun and helps generate engagement.

1. Starfish (Start, Stop, Less, More, Keep)

Use 5 categories to reflect on team practices and activities and how they are impacting our results.

  • Start Doing
  • Stop Doing
  • Keep Doing
  • Do Less
  • Do More

2. PIPA (Puzzles, Ideas, Problems, Appreciations)
A broad, evocative set of prompts to get the team thinking beyond the typical “helping / hurting” paradigm.

  • Puzzles 🀄
  • Ideas 💡
  • Problems ⚠️
  • Appreciations 👏

3. ORID (Objective, Reflective, Interpretive, Decision)
This is a technique inspired by Practical Facilitation: A Toolkit of Techniques, Chapter 3 (Christine Hogan, 2003). Help the team take a deeper look, and consider issues from multiple angles.

  • Objective – Facts, Data, Senses
  • Reflective – Reactions, Emotions, Feelings
  • Interpretive – Meaning, Conclusions, Impacts
  • Decision – What should we do?

4. 4L’s (Liked, Learned, Lacked, Longed For)
“Word Cafe” useful in eliciting feedback on a process, meeting or event. From EBG Consulting’s post, The Four Ls Retrospective.

  • Liked 👍
  • Learned 🎓
  • Lacked 🚫
  • Longed For 😍

5. Plus/Delta
The simplest form of retrospect – what went well?, what should we change?

  • Plus ➕
  • Delta 🔺

6. Start, Stop, Continue
A common, straightforward technique to focus on evaluating our current practices and starting new ones. Mike Cohn provides a great overview here.

  • Stop 🛑
  • Start ➕
  • Continue ⏩

7. Mad, Sad, Glad
Look at the past iteration through an emotional lens. What were the big events? Did they make you Angry? Happy? Sad?

  • Mad 😡
  • Sad 😭
  • Glad 😀

8. Force Field Analysis (Driving / Restraining)
Useful if you are addressing a single large issue or situation, but can be used more generally as well. What is driving us forward, what is holding us back?

  • ⏩ What is Driving us Forward?
  • ⏪ What is Holding us Back?

9. Sailboat
A version of Force Field – what is the wind in our sails? What is the anchor holding us back? Popularized by Luke Hohmann’s book Innovation Games.

  • Wind in our Sails ⛵
  • Holding us Back ⚓

10. Imagine the Future
Think about possible future states, both good and bad. What things might take us to those states?

  • Awesome future looks like?
  • What might take us to awesome town?
  • The apocalypse looks like?
  • What might cause the apocalypse?

11. BONUS: Retrospectives Against Humanity

How you use this approach is up to you. You can treat it purely as comic relief, or you can have a semi-serious discussion about the responses, creating follow-up action items or decisions. Just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it can’t be productive! Read the full post on this template here.


  • Last iteration was going just fine until ________.
  • One defect is bad, two are worse, three are _____.
  • ______ drives our team to success.
  • Our velocity: it’s ________.
  • When we all get promotions, it will be because of _____.
  • What has been screwing up our estimation?
  • Our eXtreme Programming is so extreme that ____.
  • If Uncle Bob saw our code he’d ____.

To learn how to add or change an agile retrospective template in Instant Agenda, click here.

Instant Agenda comes with over 10 retro templates you can use to continuously improve. You can also track team mood, assign action items, vote on and record decisions, and much more – all for one low price.

Mackenzie Fernandez

Developer at Instant Agenda
Mackenzie is a Colorado native that has a tool built for everything. She spends most of her time reading (a lot), hiking and organizing Nerf games.

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