The Scrum Year Retrospective by Nuno Gouveia

Today, is the last day of the year 2015 and there is nothing better than talk about Retrospectives. Having this said, this time I’m not writing one of my articles but instead I would like to share with you an article written by my friend Nuno Gouveia (Scrum Master from the Avengers Team).

After reading his article “The Scrum Year Retrospective” I thought that was really great to share with you their idea on how they could keep improving as well their experience regarding the Scrum Year Retrospective. Not forgetting the outcome results and feedback from this experience.

For me it’s really amazing when we see teams with this innovation spirit. In other words, not having afraid to fail and with continuous improvement as a team value.

Having said this, please find the article below:

I’ve been acting as Scrum Master for my team (Avengers) for the past few months. Just to give some context, we are a team with some experience with Scrum and some of us have been working together for about 2 years now. Our retrospectives usually have a lot of good discussions and I like to believe that we are not the type of team that sweeps stuff under the rug. Our biggest problem is really that sometimes we discuss so much that we start deviating from the issues at hand. With that in mind, on my first retrospectives as a Scrum Master I tried not to change too much from what was the routine retrospective (+/- board with post-its) and focused instead on trying to not let the team scatter too much on the issues being discussed.

For the past 2 sprints I’ve been working with another team member that is also acting as Scrum Master, so we can say we are a kind of a Scrum Master’s team. The experience has been very good and last sprint, we had a great idea for a retrospective and this post is to share that experience.

The idea
The idea was to do a year review or year end retrospective. This seemed a great idea but there was a big problem: if sometimes in the sprint retrospective we have a hard time remembering everything that happened in the last 2 weeks, how would we remember all that has happened during one entire year? To solve that problem we had the idea to do a year timeline that could represent all the main events that had happened during that time. So a couple of hours before the retrospective we (the Scrum Master Team) tried to capture the most outstanding events from each sprint. We also decided to take screenshots from the most important product features we developed. We assembled the timeline on a big paper just a few minutes before the retrospective and then called everyone into the room (the result is the image in the cover of this post).

Year Retrospective

We started by explaining what was going to happen to the rest of the team. We told the team that besides our usual sprint retrospective we would also do a retrospective of the entire year. After that we unveiled the year timeline and everyone looked quite surprised! We went over the timeline together and while at it we decided (with the team’s input) to add the time of the year when the team new members joined in. After that we gave everyone around 10 minutes to write post-its for good and bad things that had happened during the last sprint or the entire year.

There were a lot of post-its both from the last sprint and from the entire year and that generated a lot of discussion, and it was the first retrospective where the number of post-its for good things exceeded the bad ones! It was very good to revisit some old discussions and try to get closure in others. We have been improving as a team with each sprint retrospective, but this was a totally different experience that allowed us to step back and realise how far we had come since the beginning of the year.

In the end it was an amazing experience and we had a very good feedback from the team. If you haven’t done something similar yet I would recommend that you try this with your team, either to close this year or to start the new one!

Good 2016!


My feedback from this is simple: Great article. I hope that you enjoy reading it like I did.

See more at: The Scrum Year Retrospective by Nuno Gouveia


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