12 sprint retrospective templates

Last updated: March 2024

Sailboat. Hot air balloon. Mountain climbing. Are you picturing adventurous excursions? Possibly. But if you are part of an agile team, you might be familiar with these terms as techniques for retrospective discussions. Using memorable frameworks like these can help to shape your retrospectives, so it is easier to glean insights into your goals, obstacles, and achievements — and improve future sprints.

Sprint retrospectives are most popular among scrum teams, but any agile team can hold retrospective meetings to reflect on other types of work — like recent releases or key projects. To encourage open and fruitful discussions, many teams rely on creative frameworks guided by visual tools or templates.

In this guide, you can access retrospective templates to help freshen and direct your discussions. If you want to get started right away, try the built-in sprint retrospective template in Aha! software.

If you use Aha! Develop to manage engineering work, you can also make use of team whiteboards and notes within your account. This guide also includes downloadable sprint retrospective templates if you would prefer to get started that way.

Try the sprint retrospective template in Aha! software. Sign up for a free trial.

Sprint retrospective large

Whiteboard sprint retrospective template

This template gives the ability to host a collaborative sprint retrospective on a virtual whiteboard. Document what went well, what could have gone better, and what you would do differently next time. Then, identify and assign action items for the team.

Sprint retrospective large

4 Ls sprint retrospective template

The four "L's" stand for loved, learned, lacked, and longed for. The 4Ls retrospective template offers a clear structure for examining the positives and negatives of that sprint — both technical and team-related. You might also call this one the "Lessons Learned" exercise.

To use the 4 Ls retrospective template, team members write their takeaways for each "L" and place them in the corresponding box.

4 Ls / Image

Agile sprint retrospective notes template

This simple retrospective template will help you structure your notes, document action items, and run a productive meeting. This is an effective starter template for any agile team regardless of which methodology you follow.

This template is best suited for use by the meeting facilitator or a designated scribe that can take notes for the whole team.

Agile retrospective notes template

DAKI sprint retrospective template

The DAKI retrospective template is a two-by-two grid. "DAKI" is an acronym for the different discussion items: drop, add, keep, and improve. Briefly, these mean:

  • Drop: What should we remove from our process in the next sprint?

  • Add: What should we add to our process?

  • Keep: What we should continue doing?

  • Improve: Which areas need improvement?

Try this template for a quick and streamlined discussion. Have team members write and share thoughts as sticky notes or comments in each quadrant.

DAKI template / image

FLAP sprint retrospective template

Another easy acronym to work with is FLAP, which stands for:

  • Future considerations: Based on what we have learned, what should we consider for the next sprint?

  • Lessons learned: What are our top takeaways from the last sprint?

  • Accomplishments: What were the high points of the last sprint?

  • Problems: What were the low points of the last sprint?

The FLAP template is helpful for discussing both the prior sprint and ideas for upcoming work periods. Similar to the 4L's and DAKI templates, team members take turns sharing their ideas for each component of the FLAP template.

FLAP retrospective template / image

Hot Air Balloon sprint retrospective template

For a more creative approach, try a Hot Air Balloon retrospective template. This template uses a fun visual metaphor to spur discussions around your key takeaways and ideas for improvement. Use this template to talk about your:

  • Hot air: What lifted the team up during the last sprint?

  • Sandbags: What dragged the team down?

  • Sunny skies: Which points of the sprint felt positive or easy?

  • Stormy weather: Which points of the sprint felt challenging or risky?

Hot Air Balloon sprint retrospective template

Mad, Sad, Glad sprint retrospective template

Mad, Sad, Glad retrospective templates prompt team members to reflect on the past sprint in a more emotional way. Asking everyone to think about what made them feel frustrated, disappointed, or happy can help uncover more personal takeaways.

Mad, Sad, Glad retrospective template / Image

Mountain Climber sprint retrospective template

The Mountain Climber retrospective template is another visually engaging technique. In this template, you will discuss how different elements affected your ability to reach your sprint goals, represented by:

  • Boulders: What obstacles did we face during the last sprint?

  • Climbing equipment: What helped us on the climb towards our goal?

  • Inclement weather: What posed a delay, setback, or disruption?

  • The summit: Did we reach our sprint goal?

Mountain Climber sprint retrospective template

Rose, Thorn, Bud sprint retrospective template

In this exercise, a rose represents highlights and successes, thorns describe challenges or pain points, and buds represent new ideas for growth and improvement. Use the Rose, Thorn, Bud retrospective template for a thoughtful conversation starter with straightforward talking points.

Rose, Thorn, Bud sprint retrospective template

Sailboat sprint retrospective template

Similar to Hot Air Balloon and Mountain Climber, the Sailboat retrospective template is a visual depiction of how your current workflows are faring. (The simplified version of this is called an "Anchors and Engines" retrospective template.) Use the Sailboat template to evaluate your:

  • Wind: What pushed us forward during the last sprint?

  • Anchors: What held us back?

  • Rocks: What obstacles or risks did we face?

  • Land: Did we reach our sprint goal?

Sailboat sprint retrospective template

Starfish sprint retrospective template

The Starfish retrospective template is future-focused. Rather than recounting the past, it centers the discussion on how the previous sprint will shape the sprints ahead. Use this five-pronged diagram to define:

  • What to do more of

  • What to do less of

  • What you will keep doing

  • What you will stop doing

  • What you will start doing

Starfish sprint retrospective template

Start, Stop, Continue sprint retrospective template

The Start, Stop, Continue retrospective template offers a balanced way to examine positives and negatives. Similar to the Starfish retrospective template, it encourages your team to consider how to reinforce positive outcomes. Remember, not every idea for improvement needs to be brand new for each sprint.

In this template (and others), you may find it helpful to use icons or color-coding to indicate categories (e.g. process, tool, and team).

Start, Stop, Continue Retrospective Template / Image

With sprint retrospective templates handy, you will always have fresh inspiration for thoughtful discussions. Try downloading one of these templates for your next meeting — or use the sprint retrospective template for free in Aha! software to take notes, build a whiteboard, and spark conversation in a new way.

Plus, incorporate the learnings from your retrospectives in your next sprint right within the same software suite. Aha! Develop is the ideal place to plan and track sprints and deliver any kind of engineering work — so your team can achieve even more.

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