End of Year for Scrum Team — How to run ‘Year-End Summary’ Retrospective Meeting

End of the year is a time for organizations to publish summary of work and achievements for the last year, review their finance results, and analyze its strategic plans. It could be also a perfect moment for a Scrum Team to stop and inspect last year regarding to its Agile processes, successes and main challenges.

Good idea is to review the last year as a Scrum Team, by turning one of the Retrospective Meetings into “Year-End Summary Session”, during which Team can inspect what progress has been made during the last year in terms of processes, tools, relationships, people; how the transition into ‘self-organizing’ team is going, and identify gaps that still need to be improved.

Here’s how the “Year-End Summary” session might be organized:

  1. Gather Action Points from Retrospective Sessions from last year and put them into the form with columns: “Action Item”, “Done”, “Better”, “No change”, “Worse”.
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‘Year-End Summary’ Form

2. Print forms and ask Team Members to evaluate each Action Item from Retrospective Sessions by ticking the box in appropriate column:

Done — Action point is not valid anymore. We put it into practice or item is no longer needed.

Better — We made a progress, but we still have work to do.

No Change — Nothing has changed.

Worse — We got even worse in this area.

3. As a group, discuss all of the items from the form (if you have time and the list is not so long) by using similar approach as during “Planning Poker”— People with different opinion about the progress of item are given a soap box to offer their justification for their estimate and then discussion continues.

4. Ask people to count numbers of ticks in each of column, so it can give some kind of evaluation of the last year and agree as a group on actions that can improve the impact of retrospectives in the next year.

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Inspecting ‘Action points’ from Retrospective Sessions could be one of the methods to review a year as a Scrum Team

Benefits of running “Year-End Overview”:

  • Team can recall retrospective items from last year that weren’t put into action or were successfully implemented;
  • Team will have a chance to reflect and think how to make Retrospective Sessions even more powerful next year;
  • Team can review improvements and identify things that were delivered during last year — motivating aspects of showing how much has been done.
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‘Year-End Summary’ Session can help team to review implemented changes from Retrospective Meetings

Other tips for running the session:

  • Prepare a highlight of main successes and challenges from last year;
  • Make an intro to the session by showing the main stats from the Sprints like ‘Burn-down charts’, ‘Main milestones from the project’, ‘Number of stories delivered’, ‘Story points burnt’, ‘Examples of the delivered product’;
  • The summary of the session could be a perfect input for developing ‘New Year Resolutions’ for Scrum Team;
  • Don’t remove duplicated Action Points from the list, if something was mentioned few times it should get additional attention from the team.

Written by

Scrum Master

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