Retrospective: Do The Team Radar

Christiaan Verwijs
Feb 10, 2017 · 5 min read

As a Scrum Master, I love trying out new and different Retrospectives. It prevent the monotony of always doing the same thing (like a regular ‘plus/delta’). And it offers a team a new and different perspective to evaluate the process and learn from it.

Image for post
Image for post

The ‘Team Radar’ is one of my favorites. It strikes a nice balance between reflection as a team and as an individual. It’s also one of the best methods to make transparent where a team agrees and where it doesn’t, automatically prioritizing what needs attention.

Setting up

Create a large Team Radar on a flip-over sheet or a whiteboard. Use the example above as inspiration. Add between 5 and 8 topics and create spokes for them. Feel free to add topics that you feel are relevant to the team. Sometimes I use mostly technical topics (e.g. ‘technical debt’, ‘refactoring’, ‘working software’). Sometimes I use soft topics (e.g. ‘trust’, ‘customer contact’, ‘collaboration’) or the Scrum Values themselves (‘respect’, ‘openness’, ‘courage’, ‘commitment’ and ‘focus’). Or I mix up different topics.

Next to the large Team Radar, create a smaller version (A4 or letter-format) that you can print as many times as there are members in the team. I usually create a smaller version on A4 with a permanent marker and photocopy it a number of times.

Doing the Team Radar

  1. Begin by explaining the purpose of a Retrospective. Re-iterate the ‘prime directive’ of Retrospectives. Make sure that people feel comfortable and safe;
  2. Proceed by explaining the purpose of the Team Radar. I usually say something like ‘The Team Radar gives us an opportunity to compare our individual perspectives on how things are going, and learn and improve from there’;
  3. Briefly discuss the topics that you’ve put on the spokes of the Radar with the team. Make sure there is a shared understanding. If the Radar contains a lot of ‘soft aspects’ (like ‘atmosphere’, ‘trust’, ‘courage’), I ask the team to identify key behaviors that exemplify these topics and write them down next to the keyword;
  4. Using the printouts of the Team Radar, ask everyone to individually rate the topics on the spokes (10 minutes). Do this on a scale from 1 (not going well at all) to 10 (going extremely well) and let people mark the score on the axis. Ask people to do this in silence. This way everyone has equal opportunity to reflect on how things are going;
  5. When everyone is done rating the axes on their individual printout, ask them to connect the dots/markings from the various axes (as per the example picture). This way everyone creates their own radar. Teams usually become very interested in each other’s results at this point, but ask people to refrain from sharing their individual results just yet;
  6. Ask the team to come forward (one by one) and draw their individual Radar on the Team Radar that’s visible on the wall, flip-over or whiteboard (10 min). When possible, give everyone a marker with a different color to make it easier to identify who drew what line later on. Refrain from discussing the results just yet; it’s ok to build the suspense;
  7. Open the discussion of the Team Radar (45 min) by asking the team for general observations first. “Was it difficult to rate the topics?”, “What patterns are visible right away?”, “What surprises or shocks you?”. When the discussion doesn’t take off naturally from there, I help the team by asking specific questions: “On what topics do we (mostly) agree?”, “On what topics do we (mostly) disagree? What does this tell us?”, “What topics receive a low rate from everyone?”, “What individual scores are surprising? What does this tell us?”. Give people the opportunity to clarify their personal scores if they want to, but don’t force them;
  8. When you’ve discussed the results sufficiently, move into ‘action mode’. Ask the team to pick the two (or three) axes that warrant improvements most urgently. Discuss what specific actions can be undertaken in the upcoming sprint to improve the rating, starting tomorrow. Help the team to steer clear from vague, generalistic improvements like “We have to do X better”. Press the team to make it specific by asking: “What actions will you take starting tomorrow to improve X?”. A handful of specific improvements is more than enough. There’s always the next sprint to improve more. To keep things transparent, write down improvements on post-its and put them next to the Team Radar. Make sure to ask who will take ownership of coordinating each improvement;
  9. Wrap up the Retrospective by asking the team how they felt about this format. Was it useful for them? Did it yield new insights? Thank everyone for attending the Retrospective;
  10. Make sure to take a picture of the Team Radar when you’re done, and before wiping it off the whiteboard;


Enjoy this wonderful Retrospective, and in particular the discussions that it generates in the team. If you’ve got a cool result to show, let me know. Same goes for improvements and tips regarding this particular format.

The Liberators

The Liberators: Unleashing Organisational Superpowers

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store