It can be tough to get your team to understand the purpose of the Retrospective, especially if your team is new to Agile. But, Retrospectives that promote growth will give your team the leg-up they need.

Here’s what I recommend: use quantitative goal setting to monitor and boost team performance.

Start by making a wish list of goals you’d like to achieve as a team in the next six months or so. Be sure to choose goals that would contribute to the overall performance of the team. Make sure your goals are specific and measurable (that’s what makes them quantitative). 

Here are some examples of quantitative team goals:

  • Reduce Technical Debt by X%
  • Reduce Feature Lead time by X%
  • Increase team velocity by X%
  • Increase % of stories accepted in an iteration 
  • Boost the knowledge base (skill set) of team members in certain areas
  • Improve estimation accuracy

Then, at your Retrospectives, track your team’s progress on these goals. Address any impediments that have popped up and get those taken care of.

Starting with quantitative goals (e.g. reducing technical debt by X%) will help the team achieve more qualitative goals, like increased team happiness, higher rates of collaboration, and more cross-functionality.

These are harder to measure, but your team’s ability to peacefully work together is another sign that your Retrospectives are getting the job done.

Retrospective Strategies that Promote Growth

I recommend using problem-solving strategies to help team members reflect on their progress. These are great ways to promote growth and critical thinking without putting anyone on the spot or creating a culture of conflict.

Here are some of my favorite tools and techniques for Retrospectives that promote growth in your team:

Fishbone Diagram

Also known as Ishikawa diagrams, these are all about exploring the cause and effect around a particular result.

The 5 Whys

The idea here is to keep asking why until you get to the root cause of the problem (or of the success).

Image courtesy of

Dot Voting

This is a simple, visual way to set priorities and hear input from everyone. Team members “vote” on the ideas they think are the most important using stickers or other visual indicators.

Diverge & Converge

This problem-solving technique comes from Design Thinking. Team members are encouraged to think of and consider as many creative choices as possible, before deciding on a course of action.

Image courtesy of Medium.

There are tons of creative ways to use Retrospectives to promote growth in your team. Feel free to pass along your favorites, and maybe we’ll add them to the list.

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