Remote team retrospective canvas

How to run an effective remote team retrospective

Niklaus Gerber
6 min readMay 14, 2020


A retrospective is a look back. For teams, a retrospective is a regular event everyone meets to look back at the recent past and thereby improve future teamwork. It is a meeting where the team members reflect on processes, tools, skills, relationships, challenges and experiences. The feedback offers opportunities for the team as a whole as well as for each participant.

The goal is to improve teamwork and thus improve the overall process. Retrospectives are an essential part of a continuous improvement process. Retrospectives give space and an opportunity for open feedback within the team, to avoid frustration and eliminate misunderstandings.

I did my fair share of retrospectives. If done well, they will have a significant impact on the future performance of a team. Too often, they are done poorly, and it just becomes a waste of time for everyone involved.

I prefer to combine retrospectives with team reflections. A reflection helps to express thoughts, feelings and opinions about a shared experience. A reflection is one of the most robust tools I know to foster openness and trust in the team. This method will help you to draw out key learnings and insights to take forward to improve the future application.

Where the retrospective focuses on the work done and to improve the process, the reflection focuses on bringing the team close together. I highly suggest you do reflections and retrospectives regularly if you want to build a strong team.

If it is in any way possible, you should get your team together in one room. There is so much of non-verbal communication lost doing rituals remotely. Working with remote teams, I understand that this is not always possible. Rather than skipping retrospectives, you should make sure that you get the most out of the format doing it remotely.

I am sharing with you the canvas I created for working with my teams that served me well so far. You can use it for a typical retrospective, but I will share here with you how I use it for remote retrospectives.

You can download the free PDF of the canvas here

You can look that the



Niklaus Gerber

I assist companies with digital innovation. I guide teams, shape products, refine strategies and make things simpler, smarter and more helpful.