Retrospective Roles and Responsibilities

Retrospective: Roles and Responsibilities

Does your scrum team have team members who avoid talking to each other? Is passive-aggressive behavior getting in the way of good teamwork? Are there irritations between team members? This article provides a Role-based sprint retrospective format that helps your team work better together.

When to use this format?

This retro format is great for teams who:

Why use this format?

This format will help your team to work better together. We based this format on our experience working in scrum teams and working with Roles.
This format will help your team:

How to run the retro with Roles:

  1. Use a (digital) whiteboard or an empty wall and Post-its.
  2. On the whiteboard or wall, the Scrum master creates a column for each Role in your team. Name the Role with a post-it at the top of the column. Roles can be filled by more than one person. This exercise is about the Roles, not about the persons.
  3. For each Role, team members write on yellow post-its: This Role is definitely responsible for …. One responsibility per post-it. Team members can write multiple post-its. Everyone can create post-its; also, the people filling the Role.
  4. Paste the yellow post-its under the Role without discussion. Move to the next Role.
  5. When all Roles have yellow Post-its, pick up the orange Post-its (or any other color that is not yellow). Move back to the first Role, and now team members should write down what (in their opinion) this Role is NOT responsible for.
  6. Paste the orange post-its below the yellow ones without discussion.
  7. When all Roles have yellow and orange post-its, give each team member 7 (digital) dot-votes (stickers). Ask the team to silently read the post-its and place their dots on the yellow or orange post-its they want to discuss. Team members are allowed to put multiple dot-votes on one post-it.
  8. When all team members cast their votes, start with the post-it with the most votes. Start the discussion by inviting team members who voted to motivate the vote. Try to clarify (implicit) expectations team members might have about a Role’s responsibilities. Write down clarifications or agreements the team makes. Repeat for other post-its with votes.

Example of a whiteboard with (ir)responsibilities and dot-votes
Example of a whiteboard with (ir)responsibilities and dot-votes


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