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What is a Starfish Retrospective?

Smartpedia: A Starfish retrospective is a group meeting with the aim of improving teamwork. Aspects of cooperation are categorised into star-shaped categories.

Starfish Retrospective – the continuous improvement of development in the team

The Starfish Retrospective is a well-known and frequently used variant of a retrospective. In a retrospective, the development team meets – in a Scrum approach, not only the developers but also the Scrum Master and, if necessary, the Product Owner – to exchange ideas. The Starfish retrospective takes its name from a starfish, because the aspects of collaboration that individual team members communicate are classified into five star-shaped categories:

  • Start Doing: Here, aspects are collected that should be tried out or used in the future. Example: visualizing impediments on an impediment board.
  • More of: Here points are noted that should be used more or more often in the future. Example: User Story Mapping.
  • Less of: Here elements are documented that do not function ideally and should be used less frequently in the future. Example: Apprenticing by users.
  • Stop Doing: Here, points are recorded that should be omitted in the future. Example: Manual description of a Traceability Matrix.
  • Keep Doing: In this category, aspects are noted that work well and should continue to be used. Example: Team Estimation Game.


Starfish Retrospective - the continuous improvement of development in the team

In general, there are many different variants of a retrospective. There are Scrum Masters who use different variants again and again in order to bring some variety into group communication on the one hand and on the other hand to keep the attention in the team high. It is usually a matter of taste whether teams prefer to work with five categories as in the Starfish Retrospective, with four or even only three as in the Small Starfish Retrospective.

Impulse to discuss:

What do you think of the idea of having another Scrum Master moderate the retro so that the actual Scrum Master can also actively participate in the exchange as a member of the team?


Further information on retrospectives can be found here »

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