The Biggest Problem Agile Teams Have with Retrospectives

Ben Staples
6 min readMar 17, 2021

Originally published on

I ran a recent poll on LinkedIn to understand what the biggest pain points of retrospectives are.

While it seems like everyone has something they could optimize about their retrospectives, here were the top three problems that stood out the most:

  1. 45% of poll participants said that their number one retrospective problem is that the meeting takes too long
  2. 27% of poll respondents mentioned that they just don’t have enough retrospectives
  3. 27% of people surveyed mentioned they struggle to remember what happened during the sprint

The Retrospective Meetings Take Too Long

Some teams can have incredibly long retrospective meetings. Oftentimes teams can also just feel that the retrospective meetings are too long compared to the value teams are getting from their meeting.

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

What are some ways to more effectively use your retrospective time?

Literally shorten the meeting

Yes, it sounds silly, but some teams have built the habit of having two or even three hour long retrospective meetings. While this can enable certain teams to really dig deep and get to the true learnings behind surface level team issues, over time, extended meeting times will drive a lazier and more apathetic atmosphere.

Even if your team is used to longer retrospective meetings, try shortening the time allotted and see what happens. There are some risks here, for example on teams where everyone goes through and shares each idea individually, you may hit a point in the meeting where you realize not everyone will get to share their complete list of thoughts.

As a result of a tighter time constraint, your team may naturally get into a rhythm of extracting key points from retrospective discussions earlier.

For example, many teams rely on voting to hone in on key points the team would like to discuss instead of going…



Ben Staples

Ben Staples has over 7 years of product management and PMM eCommerce experience from at Nordstrom, Trunk Club, and Vistaprint . Currently based in Chicago IL