Spotify Retro Kit

December 15, 2017 Published by Martin Österberg

TL;DR: We have created the Retro Kit. It can be downloaded by following this link.

Retro Kit… but why?


Historically at Spotify there has been an Agile Coach attached to each team. That coach has, among other things, helped the team to improve their processes. A central piece to that improvement are regular retrospectives where teams reflect on their way of working to continuously become better in what they do.

As the role is currently evolving the coaches will take a more holistic stance and be less involved with teams and in team ceremonies, including retrospectives. The aim is to provide tools for teams to become self sufficient.

To achieve this, a couple of us came up with an idea. Could we create a tool for teams to start running their retrospectives on their own in a fun and easy way? The idea for the Retro Kit was born!

After some prototyping, user testing and feedback we have now reached a state where we are ready to publish this to a broader audience.

What will I find in the Retro Kit?

The Retro Kit has 2 parts, the black pages and the colourful pages.

The black pages

The black pages contain some retrospective basics that can be good to read up on before you facilitate for the first time. It has elements such as the prime directive, spheres of influence, voting mechanisms, warm up exercises and some general facilitation tips.

The colourful pages

The colourful pages contain the actual retrospective guides. They are set up as step by step guides that should be easy to follow. Most of them have elements that help you keep track of time (see the upper right corner).

As of now we have five guides: The Sailboat, Plus/Delta, WARP, Proud & Worried and Lean Coffee. All of them are quite basic retrospective formats. You can choose to use the retrospective plan with the open ended question of “How have things been working over the couple of weeks?” or have a themed retrospective where you focus on a specific topic and dive deeper into that.

I’ve downloaded it, now what?

So the idea is that you print the Retro Kit and have it in your team area. In preparation for the retrospective you can decide to draw straws or rotate who facilitates within your team. Perhaps there are a couple of people who like to do it and will take turns. It’s up to you.

The facilitator should read through the black pages before starting and also select the retrospective format they want to use. If the facilitator hasn’t used the Retro Kit before it’s probably a good idea to look through the colourful pages as well to get an idea of how the retrospectives work.

What we sometimes do is package the Retro Kit together with post-its and sharpies. That way the team can simply grab the kit, head into a room and get going.

Some things to keep in mind before you start using it

Before you have a look at the Retro Kit there are a few things that might be good to know.
We have deliberately avoided adding more advanced techniques. This is a starting point for teams that are just getting started and are learning about how to facilitate retrospectives. As such it provides the most basic principles and some simple formats.
The idea is that there is an experienced facilitator (Agile Coach or similar) nearby to ask when there are any questions.
Our hope is that this sparks an interest with the teams and that the team, after a while, starts reading more about retrospectives and goes beyond the Retro Kit.

Enough said. Show me the mon… ahem… Retro Kit!

The Retro Kit can be downloaded by following this link. We hope you find it useful and please leave a comment down below if you have feedback! ?

Martin Österberg, Behnosh Esni, Sara Rabiee & Zuza Majkowska, December 2017.