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Large Scale Retrospective

Need to run a retrospective for a Program and don't know where to start?

Read the article below to become a master of Restrospective in Scale!

Retrospective is an excellent tool for Scrum teams to evaluate the last working cycle, gather feedback, and identify improvement areas. But when you run a program, and your team is 30+ people, the challenge of running a retrospective comes to your mind. How do we approach it? How do we keep our team engaged? Will we hear each of the team members?

Below are a few steps that will help you prepare for the Retrospective and still make the meeting effective and enjoyable.

  1. Before the meeting starts:

    • think about what you want to achieve by this meeting and what method will work for you best

    • choose the proper format of the retrospective

    • prepare your board and agenda

  2. Divide your participants into smaller teams (by the same problem areas or the subject - whatever works best for you)

  3. Inform participants early enough about the session and scope of meetings (make sure that participants know the scope that they can prepare themselves before the meeting). If it is critical for you that at least one of the team members joins the retro, check with the team who will be participating, and if the person cannot join, who will be the deputy.

  4. Ensure that all participants have access to the board or the tool you are using before the meeting (you can use Miro, Mural, Confluence, Trello, or even

  5. If possible, find a neutral facilitator.


Set a stage

  • You want to make sure that participants will concentrate on improvements areas, not hate, present the rules and best practices (don't think that everyone knows how retrospective works)

  • Present agenda and scope to your team, make sure that there are no questions about how to proceed

Gather data

Here you can apply 2 approaches:

  • first, teams make retrospectives inside the teams (squads, clusters - you name it), and then only representatives come to the retrospective meeting and shares insights

  • all participants come to the meeting and continue facilitation in smaller groups

Whatever approach you choose, the outcome of gathering data activity should be a clear understanding of problems and areas for improvement.

Deciding what is the most important now

As an outcome of retrospective, you want to fix current problems and help the team improve problematic areas, but you cannot fix everything at once. Therefore, start by voting. Usually, I give participants 3 votes to choose what are the most painful areas on the board. Once it is clear what needs to be fixed - start thinking about how to do that.


For action points, you want your team of representatives or all teams (depending on your chosen approach) to brainstorm ideas for fixing selected pain points.

If the board has too many ideas, you might want to vote for the best solutions as implementing all suggestions and ideas won't be possible.

Once above clear, assign Owners and deadlines to action points.

Follow up

Before closing the meeting, make sure to follow up with teams on the above (I also suggest sending below as an email to participants after the meeting):

  • Retrospective summary - bring to the team key thoughts and findings from the retrospective, summarize what we achieved during this meeting

  • Action points - remind everyone what the actions points are, who the owners are, and the deadlines. Make sure everyone knows what they need to do.

  • Next retrospective - if you plan recurrent retrospectives, inform participants when they might expect the next session

And that's all, remember to thank your participants and keep working towards improvements!

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