What is a Retrospective Meeting?

A retrospective meeting -or- “Retro”, is a post-completion session amongst the project team, often facilitated by the Project Manager but not exclusive to that specific role. These meetings are usually structured and the project team is given the opportunity to reflect, highlight the successes and shortfalls of the project, as well as identify areas for improvement.


Why is the Retrospective Meeting important?


Retros give team members the opportunity to share their opinions and thoughts and all members are encouraged to speak freely within a safe environment. Benefits of a retrospective meeting include:

    • Mechanism to gather all project feedback
    • Identifies strengths and weaknesses in approach and delivery
    • Sets clear and realistic expectations going forward
    • Improves future planning & structures in projects
    • Identifies future blockers in ‘ways of working’
    • Helps the team to further develop their skillsets
    • Boosts team morale


What does a Retrospective Meeting look like?


Although there is no official blueprint for a project retrospective, the facilitator should approach it in a way that works best for the team. The meeting also acts as a driver to improve the retrospective session itself, noting what worked and what didn’t for future meetings. The meeting should document all outputs and actions agreed upon in the session and these can be gathered in a variety of ways, including interactive Q&As to ensure everyone has their say. Some useful questions to ask the team include:


    • What were our goals and objectives in this project, and did we achieve them?
    • What were the key lessons learned?
    • What would we do differently?
    • What elements worked well / not so well
    • Do we still have blockers?

Next Steps

All outputs, actions and lessons learned from the project retrospective should be communicated with key stakeholders as well as any other relevant parties beyond the scope of the project team.  The Project Retrospective is a crucial key step in ensuring project success and providing value for clients. If you would like to hear more or discuss, you can contact myself David.linehan@theprojectfoundry.com or any member of The Project Foundry Team