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Practice overview

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The Timeline Retrospective is a useful way to look back at key events over multiple sprints or months, identify pain points, and develop action plans. This retrospective is typically not used by a single team over a sprint. It can be used by multiple teams that have worked together on a product. It is particularly helpful when understanding cause/effect relationships over extended periods of time.

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Run a Timeline Retrospective

This guide shows you how to run a timeline retrospective.

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tag Retrospective

Steps

1

Prepare the room

Put up the easel pad paper with the agenda, the retrospective prime directive, the positive bias characteristics, and the example of the timeline. Also set out sharpies and stickies.

2

Go through the agenda

Spend up to 15 seconds going through each item in the retrospective agenda.

3

Go through the introductory material

Invite everyone to introduce themselves and then go through the retrospective prime directive, the positive bias characteristics, and the example retrospective timeline.

For more details check the "Prepare for the Timeline Retrospective" guide.

4

Divide the room into two groups

Invite the people in the room to divide themselves into two groups. Each group should be of approximately the same size and people from the same functional area should be split amongst the two groups.

5

Create the Y-axis (timeline)

Invite each group to independently create the Y axis with the time period.

Timeline Retrospective - Months

6

Add events

Invite each group to independently add events to the timeline.

Timeline Retrospective - Months

7

Invite groups to walk through their timelines

Invite each group to share their timeline with the other group.

8

Allow each group to update timelines

Invite each group to update their timelines based on what they heard from the other group.

9

Ask each group to identify pain points

Ask each group to identify pain points with pink stickies.

Timeline Retrospective - Pain point sticky

10

Ask each group to order pain points

Ask each group to create an order list of pain points.

11

Invite groups to walk through pain points

Invite each group to share their pain points with the other group.

12

Ask each group to create an action plan

Ask each group to create an action plan for their top pain point.

13

Invite groups to share their action plans

Invite each group to share their action plan with the other group.

14

Close the meeting

The outcome of the meeting is an action plan that everyone has contributed to creating and believes in. Executing the action plan and seeing whether or not it addresses the pain point is the next step.