Running retros is not that easy and it can be hard sometimes especially if you don't have everything planned or a framework in mind. This post will help you to do your first sprint retrospective in a few basic steps.

Before getting into the steps first, you should invite everyone involved on the team to participate in the retrospective and assign a facilitator to guide it. The facilitator can be someone from the team or someone from outside of the team.

You can start by creating a board on EasyRetro. If you want to simplify things you can choose the basic template "Went well - To improve - Action Items" and select 6 votes per person default option.

A sprint retrospective consists of 5 basic steps:

Step.1 Review last retro

Before starting the retro, you can review with your team your last action items and discuss what was completed and what was not. In this step you can discuss the blockers and if the action items should be moved to the next sprint or not.

Step.2 Brainstorm

Start your retro by asking your participants to do a brainstorm individually and write cards on "Went well" and "To improve" columns. These cards should reflect things or feelings based on what happened in the last sprint.

A facilitator can control this step by allowing people to write for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes everyone should stop writing.

Step.3 Merge similar cards

In this step, the facilitator should read card by card and ask people if they think that card should be merged with another one on the board. If everyone agrees they should be merged. The facilitator can merge them.

Step.4 Votes

After merging the cards, the facilitator can assign 5 minutes for people to vote on the cards they want to discuss, each person will have 3 votes for the "Went well" column and 3 votes for the "To improve" column.

Final Step.5 Discussion and Action items

After everyone voted on the cards, you can sort the columns by votes and select the top 3 most voted cards to be discussed with everyone.

You can start with the most voted card and read it out loud to everyone. After that, the team can discuss how the issue can be fixed and what constructive things can be done. Next, you can do the same with the other 2 cards, or more, if there's enough time for it.

When people agree to create an action item, the facilitator can write the card on the "Action items" column and write the name of the person assigned to it. The action items should follow the SMART format: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

This step should last about 20 minutes or until your team discussed the most voted cards.

This is the most basic format to do a retrospective, it's not the best one but it really works. You can follow these steps and also customize them in order to best fit your team process.

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