Trending retrospective activities

What are the top 5 activities used for retrospective? What other activities are trending lately?

Trending retrospective activities
Retrospective meetings in Team O’clock, April 2021 — mid April 2022

We recently released a set of new retrospective activities. These activities enhance the available list, offering more option for this vital scrum meeting.

We took this opportunity to check out the usage of all the activities offered in Team O’clock. So we checked a years long data about the retrospective activities that teams prefer to perform their reflection.

Retrospective activities data & analysis

In Team O’clock you have access to 19 preset activities to choose from, or you can create a custom activity for your team.

To see the most used activities, we gathered data for all the presets for the last 12 months, from April 2021 to April 2022 so far. Since we introduced new activities in this period, not all activities were used each month.

What we’ve noticed from the high level analysis, is that there starting 2022 more teams performed retrospective sessions! On average 15% more retrospectives are conducted each month of 2022. We aggregated the data mid April 2022, and in April there were as much retrospectives conducted as in the whole December 2021.

Digging deeper into the data, we checked the retrospective activities that team prefer to do their reflection meetings on. These are the top 5 activities in terms of usage:

A donut chart showing the most used retrospective activities, with “Start, Stop, Continue” being the dominant one. In order of usage are following the activities “Went well, didn’t go well”, “Mad, Sad, Glad”, and “The 4L’s”. “Three little pigs”, “Space Rocket”, and “Tiny Retro” are following.
Retrospective activity usage breakdown by volumes of sessions per activity

The activity of Start, Stop, Continue is the preset activity when starting a retrospective in Team O’clock and it seems that team feel comfortable using, without messing around with the available options.

Another interesting observation is that 4 out of 5 activities in the list focus on a pragmatic approach to the retrospective than a more playful one.

Top 5 retrospective activities usage in the last 12 months

Checking the top 5 retrospective activities used in time, we see that Start, Stop Continue is trending down in usage. While two of the activities in the top 5 are trending upward, they cannot cover for the losses of Start, Stop, Continue activity. Essentially teams are using more of the other activities offered, which are not in the top 5, adding diversity to their retrospectives.

This means that the teams performing retrospectives are trying out new activities to keep the engagement high. Checking data from April 2022 — where we introduced 8 more activities — we see some new trending activities like:

The road to continuous team growth

The above analysis reveals some very promising directions for teams using scrum methodologies. The retrospective plays an enormous role in ‘agile’ (and not ‘Agile’), as it requires real effort and will to grow from the teams performing it.

First of all, we see more teams performing retrospectives, thus embracing growth in their ceremonies.

Finally, we see a slow trend of team stirring away from the default activities and exploring more intriguing activities, spicing up their reflection meetings and digging deeper for improvement.

Team O’clock believes in the value that agile ceremonies can offer. We work towards helping team adopt agile regardless of their location and timezone. Make sure to explore what our services offer, and check for more updates!