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Project Management

Breaking Down the Sprint Retrospective for Project Management

A sprint retrospective concludes a sprint and is used to discuss what went well and problems encountered in project management.

Is your project management team using Scrum? If not, you might want to consider using this highly effective project management framework. Scrum is the process for seeing continuous improvement on a project or projects. Originally designed with an emphasis on software development, Scrum is now used by other fields, especially those with teams of ten or fewer. Using Scrum, teams break their project management work into goals that can be completed in smaller lapses, typically a week or two, called sprints. 

Anatomy of a Sprint Retrospective 

The sprint retrospective is a recurring meeting that happens at the end of every sprint. The goal is to discuss the overall workflow including what was accomplished, what went well, and what can be improved in the next sprint. The sprint retrospective is a time for your team to reflect on the opportunities needed to accomplish their goals.  

The purpose of the sprint retrospective is to want your team to increase their overall quality and effectiveness when it comes to reaching their goals.  

It is the end of your sprint. The finale. And the beginning of a new one. Once the retrospective is over, it’s time to start a new sprint building off the goals completed, and setbacks learned in the prior sprint.  

Duration of a Meeting 

The duration of a sprint retrospective typically depends on how long your sprint is. Most sprints range from one to two weeks. A one-week sprint can have a wrap up meeting of about an hour. A two-week spent can be around the same amount of time, maybe longer. Sometimes your team will need a month-long sprint for bigger projects. If this is the case, a sprint retrospective can last up to three hours if needed to discuss all the elements of the month-long sprint and reflect over any setbacks.  

Frequency of Meetings 

Sprint standups, short meetings to check in, are good frequent updates to have during your sprint. These can be done daily and last only about 15 minutes to half an hour if needed. When it’s time for the sprint retrospective, this is typically once a week.  

The sprint retrospective acts as the final wrap up for the sprint. It’s the time to discuss together as a team what was accomplished and what was learned before starting a new sprint. During this meeting, you may have some unfinished projects that are moved to the new sprint. This is a good way to gauge what can reasonably get accomplished in one sprint.  

Scrum Master 

The Scrum Master is your team leader during a sprint. The Scrum Master encourages the team to improve their processes to make for a more effective next sprint. During the sprint retrospective, the Scrum Master will help team members find solutions to obstacles that got in their way and congratulate big wins on project goals.  

Sprint Retrospective Topics 

During the sprint retrospective, you want to gain as much insight into what went well and understand the conflicts that arose. The best way to do this is by diving deeper into your team’s processes.  

What Went Well? 

When teams work toward their goals in sprints, it’s a lot easier to understand what went well and what didn’t. If the team is just working on a project with no real structure until it’s finished, they can lose track of the various processes that worked well and helped them achieve their goals. By breaking each part of the project into sprints, it creates a clearer picture. If one sprint worked to their advantage, they now have the exact process to implement in the next sprint to see if they have the same success.  

What Can Be Improved? 

The same way understanding what went well is helpful in a sprint, so is understanding what can be improved. When you work in sprints and a system doesn’t pan out the way you hoped, you learn that early on in a sprint and can course correct rather than discovering that the outcome failed after several months. Once the sprint is over, you can work on a different way of improving in the next sprint.  

BQE Solutions 

BQE CORE is firm management software designed by professionals in the A/E industry for the A/E and professional services industries. Our software gives you the tools you need to master your sprints and see excellent results at each sprint retrospective. From time and expense tracking to project management, billing, and accounting, BQE CORE is an all-in-one dashboard that covers every area of your firm, synchronizing your teams and ensuring each sprint is a success.  

Try a free demo today to see how BQE CORE can help you improve your sprints and reach your goals faster.  

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