Note To Self Retrospective

post-it-notesWe have recently gotten a few new team members, and we started to get to a size where we felt it was no longer practical to be one team. So, we decided to split into two teams.

Because of this split it felt kind of strange to conduct a traditional retrospective as we could not commit to actions as a team. So, I decided to try out a different format which turned out to be one of the best retrospectives I have ever had.

Note to Self Retrospective

I got the idea from this post: which I modified slightly to be more fit to our purpose.

The basic idea is to have people reflect personally, and come up with something they personally want to change in the future.


On the whiteboard I wrote some simple introduction text so everyone would know what this was all about.

Purpose: To improve yourself

Goal: To create one actionable item for yourself and experiment with a new behaviour, practice, attitude, or method in the coming two weeks.

Output: A Post-It note for your screen or laptop to remind you about this change.


Introduction (5 minutes)
I simply showed everyone the into text and agenda for the sessions, and made sure everyone understood.

Reflection (15 minutes)
During this time people think and create their notes.

Discussion (15 minutes)
I made it clear that passing was totally acceptable during this phase so people could feel free to be as personal as they wanted. No one did. We discussed as a group what everyone decided to do.

Feedback (5 minutes)
A quick go around the table to see what people thought about this activity.


The Good

This was a fantastic retrospective! Primarily because people ended up going much deeper than I expected they would, and shared very openly with one another. Results are at the end of this post.

One team member commented that sharing them aloud was very good, because then you felt more committed to achieving it.

It was also super quick, 5 minutes to setup and ended up 30 minutes to execute.

The Bad

Not everyone’s takeaways were actionable. Maybe that’s OK, but I like actionable.

The Output:

People were so open they even said I could post the result here! I had them as a picture but the quality was bad, so I typed them. Some probably require more context to make sense, but I will post them without that.

”Keep Back
Don’t code alone
Don’t offer solutions directly
Wait until asked for help”

”Proactively deal with upcoming issues”

”Spend more time reading up on items and be more thorough.”

”More structure for retro output
Book time for debrief/admin work after each retro.
Document output.
Follow up.”

”Stop worrying about everything”

”Improve knowledge about (component name)
Get to know team members and their roles.
Get to know my own role in the team.
Get to know everyone’s name, role, and skills.”

”Less sarcasm.
More listening.
Better at (component name).”

”Self confidence over all.
Believe in myself and my work.”

”Be focused.
Don’t waste time.
Be more motivated.”

”Listen More”


Vad bra!

The finishing phrase that breaks the awkward silence at the end of a meeting. Should be pronounced with an english accent, with just a hint of cheerful Gothenburg thrown in for good measure.